Migration Paradox

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Professor Hein de Haas points out the misunderstanding that development aid in countries prevents migration. Indeed, the development in the poorest countries, for instance in Sub-Sahara Africa, will almost inevitably lead to more migration, because it increases capacity and aspiration to migrate. “…therefore, future immigrants in Europe might increasingly come from sub-Saharan Africa instead of Turkey and North Africa.” (1)

Klaus Woltron doubt that migration of needy refugees in wealthy countries does diminish poverty in the world. The population continues to grow dramatically without contraception. The growth of population in developing countries is greater than the number of migrants. Woltron complains that the Catholic Church does not support contraception and fears that the high birth rates of Muslims in Europe strengthen political Islam. The most effective measure is to raise the standard of education enabling to increase the standard of living considerably; however, the higher standard of living will cause higher energy consumption, higher emissions, and waste – a vicious circle. (2)

Judith Kohlenberger examined that population growth in Africa is based less on increasing fertility but on falling child mortality. She endorses that Europe enters into a partnership with Africa to promote education and circular migration. Kohlberger says that a complete stop of the African migration to Europe would be neither realistic nor sensible, so she rejects the closure of escape routes. Both sides, Europe and Africa, would benefit from circular migration. That is legal work, study and (dual) education in Europe employing work-, or student-card coupled with a voluntary return after a few years. (3)

Experts like Jeffrey Sachs and Juliette Lyons debate the negative consequences of aid. It has left developing countries in a worse place than before. Africa as a whole receives around $50 billion of international assistance annually. Instead of improving the living conditions of the 600 million people, the aid makes the rich richer, the poor poorer. It hinders economic growth in the region. Unfortunately, foreign aid strengthens corruption in countries where it is already widespread. Another consequence is aid dependence, – vast sums of money collected on foreign aid are not applied to promote local business, but used as “free” money at their disposal (4).

The international community is devoted to assisting developing countries such as Africa in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through significant increases in foreign aid spending.  However, experts maintain different opinions about additional aid in meeting the SDGs. To moderate the different opinions is the application of tools used in Project-Management: Payments for Progress linked to additional aid to clear evidence of progress achieved ensuring that aid pays only for real, measurable achievements (5).

Sanjay G. Reddy R. warns that the foreign debt of Sub-Saharan-Africa has doubled between 2008-2016 to more than $ 450 billion. This high debt threatens the UN Sustainable Development Goals (17 SDGs) in this region seriously. So far, there is no mechanism to combat this debt crisis effectively. “… it is time to legislate and implement principles …”. Klaus Woltron doubts that the industrialized countries are in a position – given their massive debts – to eliminate the misery in developing countries (5).

 (1)“Development aid does not prevent migration,” Making It, Number 25, page 13. Hein de Haas, Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and founding member of the International Migration Institute (IMI) of the University of Oxford.

(2) Klaus Woltron, Wie viele Menschen trägt die Welt? Krone Bunt, Sonntag 3. März 2019. Woltron was former leader of multinational companies, industrialist, business philosopher and author.

 (3) Judith Kohlenberger, Ein kompletter Stopp der Migration aus Afrika ist nicht sinnvoll, gastkommentar@wienerzeitung.at. Kohlenberger is Research Assistant at the Institute for Social Policy of WU Vienna and member of the Querdenkerplattform Wien-Europe – www.querdenkereurope.at

(4) Juliette Lyons, Foreign aid is hurting, not helping Sub-Saharan Africa, Le Journal International, 13. October 2014. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyonsjuliette/

(5) Owen Matthew Barder, Payments for Progress: A Hands-Off Approach to Foreign Aid, Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 102, 24 Pages Posted: 2 May 2007, Center for Global Development, Date Written: December 2006

(6) Sanjay G. Reddy, Warnsignale in Subsahara-Afrika, Südwind Magazin, Nr.11-12/November 2018. Sanjay G. Reddy is a lecturer in economics at the New School for Social Research, New York.