The perceptions that international migration is first and foremost a South-North phenomenon and that immigrants cost more than they yield is widespread.
Yet about eight out of ten African migrants leave for another African country. Their impact on the economies of host countries is generally positive though limited. At the same time, Africa’s population is set to double by 2050, bringing 26 million additional young people into the labour force each year.
Ambitious and effective policies for labour markets, education and skills, health, fertility, food security and access to financial services will be key to creating enough decent jobs and reap a demographic dividend, while maximising the positive contribution of immigrants to Africa.
These topics were at the heart of the joint press conference held by senior Officials from the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the side-lines of the 30th African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“The African Union’s Agenda 2063 provides an ambitious, continental vision of inclusive economic transformation. We support the Commission in its implementation both at regional and national levels. Addressing the interrelations between migration and other public policies is key to unleashing the continent’s potential for economic transformation”, said Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development.
The media event built on the research on Migration and Development conducted by the OECD Development Centre in around 30 countries worldwide, including seven African countries; and the conclusions of the recently published OECD Development Centre-ILO How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries’ Economies report.
The discussion highlighted the importance of intra-African migration and of immigrants’ contribution to their African host country in three areas: labour market, economic growth and public finance.
Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the report presents numerous instances of immigrants’ positive economic contributions in African countries. For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, immigrants paid more than half a percent of GDP more in taxes and contributions than they generated in additional fiscal costs in 2008.
In Ghana, wages of native-born workers who live in areas where there is a higher concentration of foreign-born workers with similar skills appear to be higher than elsewhere in the country.
In Rwanda, immigrants contribute more than 2.5 as much to value added as their share in the workforce would suggest and in South Africa, the rate of workers who are employers is almost 50% more elevated than among native-born workers.
“Drawing on its unique membership of African and other emerging economies, the OECD Development Centre has been providing analytical and comparative policy expertise and dialogue platforms – at the global, regional and national levels – to support the development of better policies for better lives.”, said Victor Harison, Commissioner of Economic Affairs of the AUC.
Building on their longstanding co-operation, and with a view to deepening high-level dialogue and co-operation on a citizen-driven pan-African agenda of integration and transformation, the AUC and the OECD Development Centre announced the launch of their forthcoming joint report Dynamic of African Economies (DAE).
Other joint high profile projects include notably the yearly International Economic Forum on Africa and Revenue Statistics in Africa.