Supporting Africa‟s Resurgence and Migration and Economic Development in Africa: An Overview
Lucas, Robert E. B
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Three fundamental constraints on Africa's future prosperity are identified in the contributions to this issue: geography, market integration and institutions. The widening gaps between Africa's economies and those of the industrialized nations contribute to the high levels of migration from Africa to the developed world. The developed nations need to support Africa's resurgence as this will not only reduce poverty levels and improve economic growth prospects in Africa, but will also reduce the pressure on the developed countries to control the influx of (unwanted) low skilled Africans to their countries, save them the cost and consequences of preventing the surge and ameliorate other negative externalities associated with such migrants. Unless these gaps are addressed, Africa will lag behind, the gaps continue to widen, the pressure for the skilled and unskilled persons to migrate out of Africa will increase and the implications for spatial population distribution and related consequences can only be imagined. The first set of three papers in this volume, therefore, presents a case for a 'big push' to support Africa's resurgence. Paul Collier and Benno J. Ndulu provide the analytical background for the recommendations of the Commission for Africa, convened by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in early 2004, which are presented by Nicholas Stern. The second set of four papers, by John Page and Sonia Plaza, Robert E.B. Lucas, Richard H. Adams, Jr., and Jean-Paul Azam and Flore Gubert, highlights the determinants and impacts of international migration. Each paper shows in different ways that income disparities and nearness to the developed economies are key drivers of migration. The review of existing evidence on the trends and impacts of migrant labour departure upon economic growth and poverty reduction in the countries of emigration focuses on two main aspects: the brain drain and remittances.