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Summary:  
  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released on May 31, its 2018 Economic Development in Africa Report subtitled “Migration for Structural Transformation”. It estimates that intra-African migration could boost growth and positively transform the structure of the continent’s economy. Concerning Rwanda, the report states that the country’s strategy to attract investment from East African Community member states and highly skilled workers, both of which are elements of Rwanda’s national migration policy framework, has helped to stimulate intraregional economic migration.
  • In 2017, the report says, 19 million international migrants moved within Africa and 17 million Africans left the continent. In addition, Africa is a migration destination for 5.5 million people who came from outside the continent.
  • The report also indicates that remittance inflows to Africa now account for 51% of all private capital to the continent, up from 42% in 2010, adding that migrants spend about 85% of their incomes in their new countries.
  • According to the report, the top five intra-African migration destinations in 2017 were South Africa, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Nigeria and Ethiopia. It estimates that global migration could boost Africa’s GDP per capita from $2,008 in 2016 to $3,249 in 2030.
Key highlights on Rwanda:
  • In addition to economic factors driving migration to diversified economies such as Kenya and Rwanda, the latter’s visa for foreign workers may attract migrants to the region. (P51)
  • Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have abolished work permit fees for their respective nationals; Rwanda has a temporary work permit for semiskilled workers. (P53)
  • In Eastern Africa, growing labour demand in the region’s diversified economies, notably in Kenya and increasingly in Rwanda, has been a driver of intraregional migration. Demand in services and trade has fuelled migration from Uganda to EAC partner States, in particular, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, and from Kenya to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. (P74)
  • Rwanda is a major destination for migrants from Kenya and Uganda and has attracted highly skilled professionals in information technology, engineering, finance, hospitality and management. Its burgeoning information technology sector has driven labour mobility among young highly skilled migrants from Kenya. (P79)
  • The policy of Rwanda to attract investment from EAC partner States, which led to significant investments by Kenya in its financial services sector, hasserved as a catalyst for labour mobility from Eastern Africa. (P79)
  • Intraregional economic migration to Rwanda has increased its labour supply in sectors with shortages, while contributing to the development of education, engineering, finance, hospitality and financial services through the exchange of skills. (P79)
  • The contribution of migrants to GDP was measured at 19% in Côte d’Ivoire (2008), 13% in Rwanda (2012), 9% in South Africa (2011) and 1% in Ghana (2010). (P94)
Cross-border investment and economic migration between Kenya and Rwanda (See Box 2, P80)
    • Investment by Kenya in 2000–2014 in banking, construction, education, information and communications technologies and insurance and in the retail sector, contributed to the registration of 1,302 Kenyan businesses and the employment of almost 250,000 Rwandan and more than 2,000 Kenyan workers by 2014.
    • Significant investment by financial institutions from Kenya such as Equity Bank and KCB, which have established subsidiaries in Rwanda, has contributed to growth in financial services while fuelling highly skilled migration to the country, and the abolition by Rwanda of work permits for workers from Kenya has facilitated labour mobility among accountants and auditors.
    • Investment by the retail franchise Nakumatt of Kenya, which opened stores in Rwanda in 2008, has helped to drive regional trade while generating employment in both countries.
    •  In the education sector, the establishment in Rwanda of branch campuses of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Mount Kenya University has fuelled the migration of highly skilled professionals, including academics and students from the region.
    •  The strategy of Rwanda to scale up the use of English as the language of instruction has provided an impetus for teacher recruitment from EAC partner States.
    • The strategy of Rwanda to boost cross-border investment, along with an enabling business environment, and comprehensive policies aimed at encouraging labour migration across skills categories, have thus been important drivers of intraregional economic migration.
The full report (PDF) is available here

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