Internal Migration and Development

A Global Perspective

image of Internal Migration and Development

With a few exceptions, evidence suggests that internal population movements are growing. While there have been few formal efforts to estimate the economic contribution of migrant labour, this report argues that internal migration can play an important role in poverty reduction and economic development and should therefore not be controlled or actively discouraged.



The government and elite view of migration

Policymakers have tended to perceive migration largely as a problem, posing a threat to social and economic stability and have therefore tried to control it, rather than viewing it as an important livelihood option for the poor (see for example Deshingkar (2004a) for a review of policy perspectives in Asia and Ellis (2003) on Africa). A study by the Sussex Centre for Migration Research (Black et al., 2003) examined 48 Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), of which only 27 made reference to migration at all, mostly “in negative or pejorative terms” (with the notable exceptions of Cape Verde, Mali, and Niger); 17 of the examined PRSPs posed internal migration as a problem for development; eight PRSPs expressed the need to control and contain migration from rural to urban areas. Several countries have followed policies of restricting population movements and these have taken various forms.


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