21 October 2009
The 2009 Human Development Report, entitled "Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development Changes," demonstrates that migration can improve the lives of millions of people, the ones who move, those in destination communities and others that remain at home.
The report Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and development finds that many restrictions and inequalities prevent Africans from moving. Restrictions imposed by the limited opportunities of the low-skilled to move across borders mean that money transfers or remittances do not tend to flow directly to the poorest families, nor to the poorest countries.
However, when given the chance, Africans potentially are the most to gain from seeking opportunities elsewhere. The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda, Aurelien Agbenonci said, that migration can play a key role in the development process, as it opens doors for new ideas and attainment of vital knowledge there by enhancing social and economic development. "Being able to decide where you want to live is a key step towards human development," he said.
It is the latest publication in a series of global Human Development Reports, which aim to frame debate on some pressing challenges facing humanity, from climate change to human rights. It is an independent report commissioned by the United Nations Development Program.
According to Jeni Klugman, the report's lead author, Migration has a long tradition in Africa, yet paradoxically, only 3% of Africans live outside their country of birth, much lower than other regions. "Despite perceptions on migration, only one percent of Africans live in Europe," he said.
The report also shows that despite progress in many areas over the last years, the disparities in people's well-being in rich and poor countries continue to be unacceptably wide, according to the Human Development Index (HDI.
This year's HDI is a summary indicator of people's well-being and combines measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and GDP per capita calculated from 182 countries and territories, the most extensive coverage ever.
Furthermore, the report indicates that Rwanda has experienced considerable population movement in recent years, due to the 1994 genocide of Tutsi and the recurrent instability in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The various displacements of populations have been at the origin of ramping insecurity in the region, a serious challenge for human development in Rwanda and the region.
Those forced to move because of conflict or natural disasters have also suffered severe hardship. "One person forced to move is too many", said Rwanda's senior Economist, Amata Diabate. 'Overcoming barriers', urges fair treatment and the assurance of rights to those displaced by insecurity. Accordingly, Africa has experienced more than its share of conflict, with about 13 percent of cross border movement on the continent the result of violence.
The report makes it clear that movement both within and between nations is predominantly driven by the search for better opportunities; therefore migration can be a vital strategy for households and families seeking to diversify and improve their livelihoods.
Efficiency of the pathways to permanence for migrants can help address the persistent impression shared by many local people that a significant part of cross-boarder migration is irregular or illegal.
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