International Migration and Development in Africa: The Migration and Climate Nexus
by: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
This is the third report on international migration and development in Africa. It focuses on the migration and climate nexus as an important theme for development policy in Africa. Like its predecssors, Implications for Development in Africa (2006) and on Impacts of the Financial Crisis, Human Rights, and Regional Integration (2009), this report represents the United Nation?s Economic Commision for Africa?s (ECA) contribution to the policy dialogue on development in Africa.
The focus on the migration and climate nexus is not arbitrary. Rather, it is motivated by concerns about the implications of increasing migration streams and climate change for development in Africa. Migration is both an important source of development financing, as well as a means for building human capital through transfering knowledge and technology. Although migration is indespenible for development in Africa, it is also draining the continent of its best and brighest people. Indeed, migration is intrinsically connected with economic and social development in Africa. Therefore, development policy will have to maximize the benefits while minimizing the costs of international migration.
Traditionally, migration has been understood as movements associated with conflict, economic hardship, and income disparities both between and within countries, especially between rural and urban areas. Factors related to the environment and climate change have been considered of secondary importance in explaining the patterns of migration and population distribution in the continent. However, recent research provides unequivocal evidence of the migration and climate nexus and its crucial importance for developement in Africa. This report aims to highlight the often overlooked dimensions of this nexus and its linkages to development policy in Africa.
It is hoped that this report will alert policy makers, planners, and researchers in Africa to this relatively neglected topic and to its importance for protecting both human welfare and the environment. There is urgent need to factor the interconnected relationship of migration and climate into long-term policy strategies and development plans in Africa.