IDPs and remittances.
1. Protecting Displaced Africa: Selective Rescue, Economist, p. 52
As we are working with internally displaced persons (the Women of Kireka), this article was of interest. On October 23rd, the Africa Union signed a convention stating that “African governments will have to look after their displaced citizens.”
Ironically enough, this happened in Kampala, Uganda, a country with somewhere between 1m and 4m IDPs. In the North, while the IDP camps have mostly shut down, the many who fled the war and ended up poor and marginalized in urban centers like Kampala and Jinja are receiving next to nothing.
Recognizing IDPs is, admittedly, an expensive and messy process. How to differentiate IDPs from the poor? how to determine the best means of relocation, resources or money or both?
Refugee Law Projet is a local organization and a strong advocate for the inclusion of IDP protection in Uganda and elsewhere. For many years, they have been trying to answer these questions and get the government to act. For more information on IDPs, you can consult their website.
2. Migration: A constant Search for Opportunity, The Africa Report, p. 16:
We all know the story of the boat that capsizes killing dozens of refugees on the way to Spain or France. However, a less known story is that of migration within Africa. The Africa Report says that “only a tiny fraction of the 17m African migrants who have chosen to leave their home countries to seek opportunities abroad. The vast majority of them, pershaps, 12 m, have stayed within Africa – often at the same time supporting even larger numbers of people at home.”
The article also highlights new numbers on the Diaspora and their contributions back home.
- African migration has led to more than $23bn in remittances in 2007, approx. $12bn to Sub-Saharan Africa and $11.5bn to North Africa
- The amount of remittances could actually be 50% higher because most migrants send money through informal channels
- In Lesotho, remittances account for 30% of GDP.
- In Cape Verde, Comoros, Lesotho and Uganda, remittances represent over 25% of export earnings
However, as the article also highlights:
[Remittances] do little to change the underlying structures that trap millions in poverty. And some economists believe that beauce remittances are spent on consumption – food, clothing, weddings etc. – they do not encourage development.
In line with this,
Governments need to consider ways to make sending and receiving remittances easier for migrants and their families. Doing so would increase the productivity of the money they send and it may benefit scores more – as well as make additional small but important differences at the household and community level.
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