The United Nations has urged the world to dispel misconceptions and “harmful narratives” on the issue of large-scale migration within Africa, stating that this migration actually boosts growth and lift’s the continent’s economy.
This follows a new report which was launched on Thursday by Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Kituyi explained that cross-border movement offered “a chance for a better life, with the social and economic benefits extending to both source and destination countries, as well as future generations”.
“Our analysis shows this to be true for millions of African migrants and their families,” he said, adding that public perception, “particularly as it relates to international African migration, is rife with misconceptions that have become part of a divisive, misleading and harmful narrative”.
According to the report, remittances sent home from migrant workers, both outside and inside Africa, rose – on average – from $38.4-billion between 2005-2007, to $64.9-billion, during the two-year period up to the end of 2016.
By that point, remittances accounted for over half of the capital flows within the continent.
Likewise, migrants contributed nearly 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Côte d’Ivoire according to figures from 2008, and 13 percent in Rwanda (2012 figures).
Overall, some 19 million international migrants moved within Africa, and 17 million Africans left the continent during last year. The continent was also the destination for about 5.5 million people from outside, the report found.