Harnessing the Potential of Migration and Return to Promote Development

Applying Concepts to West Africa

image of Harnessing the Potential of Migration and Return to Promote Development

This paper is intended to stimulate discussions on the relationship between migration, return, and development. It outlines the operational framework and research strategy that will be used to investigate this relationship in an ongoing research project on West Africa. The paper discusses the following issues: contemporary trends in international migration in West Africa, consequences of migration to domestic labour markets, effects of migrant remittances, brain drain phenomenon, the developmental impacts of potential capital transfers occurring with return, elements for a meso-level approach on migration issues to achieve an improved understanding of the complex relationship between international migration, return, and development.



Consequences of international migration

The issue of the consequences of international migration is of course intimately related to that of the interrelations between international migration and development. Migration effects can be examined at three main levels: the individual level, the family or household and local community level, and the wider national level. Varying effects are generally registered at the micro, meso and macro levels. For example, emigration of the highly skilled may have direct positive returns for individual migrants and their families (e.g. better standards of living and remittances), but may concurrently cause adverse effects for the national economy (e.g. loss of skilled manpower).


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