SAMP report: Harnessing Migration
for Inclusive Growth, Development

May 9, 2017 | By More

“…As the primary source of income for the majority of migrant-sending households, remittance earnings are vital in enabling households to meet their basic needs. Food is the most common annual expenditure of remittance money in both male and female migrant-sending households…”

Download this comprehensive and wide-ranging report by our sister project, the Southern African Migration Programme: Harnessing Migration for Inclusive Growth and Development in Southern Africa by Jonathan Crush, Belinda Dodson, Vincent Williams and Daniel Tevera.

The primary goal of this study is to present the results of a comprehensive scope of key opportunities and challenges for harnessing migration for inclusive growth and development at the regional level in Southern Africa…

The analysis leads to the identification of five major entry points in the programming framework under the general rubric of a recommended programme on Gender and Migration for Development and Inclusive Growth in Southern Africa. For each point, the report provides a detailed rationale, examples of similar programmes and likely outcomes. In summary, the five recommended entry points are as follows:

  • Entry Point One: Building a Gendered Knowledge Base on Migration. One of the recurrent themes in the stakeholder interviews was (a) the limited public availability and utility of official data on migration; and (b) the lack of knowledge about regional migration causes, volumes, experiences and impacts. A common failing of official data and the case-study research literature is the absence of systematic and generalizable information on the gendered nature of migration. In order to provide detailed, policy-relevant, gender-disaggregated data on migration and its development impacts, a different methodological approach is needed. There is a need for the collection of national migration data at the household level in countries of origin and destination through the implementation of nationally representative surveys of migrant-sending households. The knowledge and policy value of this kind of methodology is clearly illustrated by previous projects with dated findings that are still widely cited as authoritative sources of data on all aspects of migration, including its gender dimensions. These surveys would ensure the collection of data on a range of critical migration and development issues including migration drivers, migrant characteristics and motivations, migrant occupations and remitting behaviour, remittance channels and uses, and general migration impacts at the household, community and national scales.
  • Entry Point Two: Protecting Female Migrants in Domestic Work. The SADC Labour Migration Policy Framework has as two of its objectives (a) strengthening protection of the rights of migrant workers; and (b) harnessing positive gender considerations and demographic dividends. These objectives urgently need to be realized in the low-wage sectors in which migrant women and girls tend to concentrate, especially domestic work. A programme focus on the rights and protection of women and girl migrants would materially advance the objectives of the Framework and potentially enhance its implementation as well as that of the Domestic Workers Convention. We therefore recommend a regional programme directed at improving the conditions for women and youth migrating to and working in the domestic service sector. The extent to which employers, labour brokers and governments are in breach of the Convention is unknown and needs to be systematically researched. Further, programmes are needed to inform domestic workers of their rights and employers of their obligations. Because most migrant women in domestic work tend to move along major migration corridors there is a strong case for adopting a corridor-focused approach to programme implementation. Two corridors in particular are known to be significant avenues for migrant women in domestic work: the Zimbabwe-Gauteng-Western Cape corridor and the Lesotho-Gauteng corridor. By focusing attention on these two corridors, identifying the problems that migrant domestic workers face and that materially affect the employment conditions of migrant women, this intervention could have a strong demonstration effect on the need to protect and guarantee the rights of vulnerable workers and ensure that they benefit from inclusive economic growth.
  • Entry Point Three: Maximizing Remittance Impacts for Women Migrants. As the primary source of income for the majority of migrant-sending households, remittance earnings are vital in enabling households to meet their basic needs. Food is the most common annual expenditure of remittance money in both male and female migrant-sending households. Remittances do not appear to be spent on non-essential or luxury items but nor are they commonly directed towards savings or investment in business or other productive activities. While there is a need for updated regional data on the gendered dimensions of remitting, the priority now is to devise practical, actionable programmes of support which would turn remittances from meeting basic household consumption needs into sources of productive investment by recipients at the household and community levels. There is considerable global and regional debate about how best to harness remittances for development and inclusive growth. The Scaling Up Remittances (SURE) programme of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a potential model for this programme. However, IFAD’s rural focus assumes that such programmes should concentrate on rural areas, whereas it is far more likely that the opportunities for the productive use of remittances are greater in urban areas. Thus, we suggest that programming should focus more on urban-urban remitting to have tangible results and benefits for inclusive growth.
  • Entry Point Four: Enhancing Female and Youth Migrant Entrepreneurship. In cities throughout Southern Africa, migrants from other countries (including forced migrants) are involved in the establishment of small businesses to support themselves and their families and to generate remittances to send back to their home countries. There is a common perception that migrant entrepreneurs are “survivalists”, forced to establish their businesses because of a failure to obtain formal employment. However, there is a growing body of research that highlights the entrepreneurial orientation and motivation of the majority of migrant business owners. Studies have identified the following as major business challenges: (a) economic challenges including shortages of start-up capital, lack of access to credit, competition from formal sector outlets and suppliers’ high prices; (b) social challenges such as prejudice against their nationality and xenophobic attacks; and (c) security challenges such as crime and theft, confiscation of goods by the police, harassment and demands for bribes and protection money, and physical attacks. Despite these problems, migrant entrepreneurs deliver important development benefits to countries of origin (through remittances) and destination (including cheaper foodstuffs and consumables, credit facilities, and job creation, as well as generating economic profits for formal sector suppliers such as wholesalers and supermarkets). Migrant entrepreneurs in general, and women and youth in particular, are still in need of programmes of support in order to address some of the obstacles they face and to maximize their entrepreneurial activities and contributions. There is a dearth of programmes supporting migrant youth and women’s small and micro-entrepreneurship activities and initiatives in Southern Africa, particularly as migrants are generally excluded from government training and support programmes.
  • Entry Point Five: Deploying Diaspora Skills for Women/Youth Empowerment. There is increasing interest in the actual and potential role of diasporas as a resource for development and inclusive growth in Africa. Diasporas possess ve forms of diaspora capital (the “5 Cs”): intellectual capital, nancial capital, political capital, cultural capital and social capital. In order for African governments and regional organizations to engage effectively with diasporas, it is important to understand what motivates diasporas to be involved in African development: the “3 Ps” of pecuniary interests, private interests and public philanthropic interests. The global Southern African diaspora represents a large skills and expertise pool, several million strong, that has not yet been effectively leveraged for development by Southern African countries. A regional diaspora engagement policy for Southern Africa as a whole needs to be based on (a) a mapping of existing development-related initiatives by members of diasporas from Southern Africa; (b) information about the types of engagement activities that members of the diaspora are interested in supporting or participating in at the regional level; and (c) the establishment of mechanisms which would enable and facilitate engagement at the regional level, perhaps initially in the form of a platform or marketplace for supporting regional projects. To align this proposal with the general theme of gender and migration, such a programme could focus on diaspora support for projects that aim to enhance gender equity and the empowerment of women and girls…

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