SAMP Special Report

June 8, 2017 | By | Reply More

Our latest SAMP Special Report: Harnessing Migration for Inclusive Growth and Development in Southern Africa, by Jonathan Crush, Belinda Dodson, Vincent Williams and Daniel Tevera, presents the results of a comprehensive scope of key opportunities and challenges for harnessing migration for inclusive growth and development at the regional level in Southern Africa.

In principle, there is significant awareness among SADC member states about the need to strengthen efforts aimed at harnessing migration for inclusive growth and development. In practice, little progress has been made on mainstreaming migration and development at the national or regional policy level. Regional efforts to forge a common approach to migration appear promising but, while states appear willing to make initial commitments to agreements, instruments and initiatives, they are generally unwilling to ratify and implement anything that appears to infringe on their national sovereignty or the perceived interests of citizens.

Therefore, the freedom of intra-regional movement that has been a principle of the SADC since its foundation is very far from being a reality. In part, this is because there is very little data or analysis on exactly what the impact of removing border controls in the region would be. In many ways, the SADC is already a de facto free movement zone and the removal of controls would not have a massive impact on migration flows.

What it would do is provide legal channels for those who want to migrate, reduce the opportunities for personal enrichment by corrupt state functionaries on both sides of borders, eliminate current high levels of corruption and abuse in the immigration system and reduce the exploitation of migrants who enjoy few rights and protections. While free movement is likely to remain politically unpalatable to most states – and certainly South Africa – for the foreseeable future, the development and poverty-reduction potentials that this narrow nationalism curtails is costly to all.

• Download our full report.

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