New! Africa Migration Report


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Today we released a new report, 'Leveraging Migration for Africa: Remittances, Skills, and Investments'. This report is a joint effort by the African Development Bank and the World Bank. It comes at a time when countries in Africa and elsewhere are grappling with difficult choices on how to manage migration. It marks an effort to fill data and knowledge gaps on migration which in Africa comes in complex forms. 

About 30 million Africans live outside their home countries, and migration is a vital lifeline for the continent. These migrants sent home over $40 billion in remittances last year. And their annual estimated saving, usually held in foreign countries, exceeds $50 billion.

Skilled migration poses special challenges of service delivery and loss of human capital, especially in poor countries with low education base, thus in part subtracting from the benefits of large remittances. Yet, the policy measures to address skilled migration issues tend to be impracticable or lack country specificity. In the end, large investments in training people are going to be needed to bridge the gap between demand for and supply of skills in Africa. Restricting the emigration of high-skilled professionals in any form is a no-no.

Primary household surveys conducted as a part of the Africa Migration Project reveal a number of interesting aspects of migration. Migration is mostly intra-regional, and informal. Migrants are mostly young and male. The educated migrate to the North whereas the unskilled migrate within the region. The major reason for migration is to seek employment.

Surveys reveal Investments such as land purchases, building a home, and starting a business were the highest uses of remittances sent home by African diaspora. As a share of total investment, these represented 36 percent in Burkina Faso, 55 percent in Kenya, 57 percent in Nigeria, 15 percent in Senegal, and 20 percent in Uganda. Education was the second-highest use of remittances from outside Africa into Nigeria and Uganda, the third highest into Burkina Faso, and the fourth highest into Kenya.

The report also outlines innovative financing mechanisms such as issuance of diaspora bonds and securitization of future remittance flows that can help finance big-ticket projects like railways, roads, power plants, and higher-education institutions that will, step by step, help to transform Africa.

The pdf version of this report, two companion volumes and 6 household survey data involving migration and remittances can be accessed at A report is completed. But a deeper engagement on leveraging migration for Africa’s development has begun.



Dilip Ratha

Lead Economist and Economic Adviser to the Vice President of Operations, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Bank

April 01, 2011

All this money transfer is great and all, but what we really need is the talent to grow the economy and prosper in African Country. World Bank has to provide venue for African diaspora to go back home to their countries and conduct business.

At least one group of people, see "" have begun to address this issue. World bank should join efforts and sustain this effort.


Abd El Ghaffar Adesina Adebayo
April 01, 2011

I strongly feel this piece is INCITING enough for banks to leverage on-on DIASPORA MARKET AND REMITTANCES.KUDOS!!!

Elegbede F.E
April 05, 2011

You have identified a valid point in empowering African in Diaspora towards home country investment mentality. However, I believe what need to be created in them first and foremost is Value, or like I put in a previous paper, we need to etch out of them, a Prosperous Diaspora, in the process making available the vital and necessary Moral and Foundational Platform for them to be effectively useful in developing their countries of Origin.

I am a follower of this blog, thanks to a paper-test titled Youth Migration, I will however take a peep at the provided link.

I will like to add though, that the platform should not be provided by the World Bank, but should be created by the Diasporas themselves, with the World Bank merely playing an advisory and technical role.

Thank you Dilip for your resourcefulness, and for making it public.

Clinton- Onyekachi
April 06, 2011

Even if development comes in the underdeveloped countries people must always move from one place to another, its a natural phenomenon...

April 06, 2011

Migrants beware! Be sure to be the ones to propose, manage, and decide the rules for any development project you want to do jointly fund with outside investors: don't let the World Bank or other multilaterals lead a project that involves your hard hard won money; if the project should fail, you risk creating tensions in the social fabric that is SO CRITICAL to migrants who pool money together collectively. If something gets in the way of your own systems, you risk a lot more than just the good graces of big banks, you risk your fundamental support system with friends and family. Beware - keep your autonomy! Your remittance systems are so ingenious on their own!

June 01, 2011

Here the migration expert Shahram Khosravi talks about a World of Borders and recommends five books on the subject. He says that to understand what makes integration fail or succeed we need to know why migrants moved in the first place