Migration and development

Burkina Faso needs to integrate migration into sectoral and national development strategies, says new joint OECD Development Centre – ISSP report


Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – 30 May 2017 – Burkina Faso would benefit from strengthening its current approach to making migration an integral part of its overall development strategies, argues a new joint OECD Development Centre - Institut supérieur des sciences de la population (ISSP) report titled, Interrelations between Public Policies, Migration and Development (IPPMD) in Burkina Faso.

The report was launched today in Ouagadougou, along with the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, with Mme le Ministre délégué auprès du ministre des Affaires étrangères, de la Coopération et des Burkinabè de l’extérieur, chargé de la Coopération régionale et des Burkinabè de l’extérieur, with the Delegation of the European Union to Burkina Faso, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and key policy makers from several ministries in Burkina Faso.

IPPMD in Burkina Faso is the result of four years of fieldwork, empirical analysis and policy dialogues involving data collection from 2 200 households in Burkina Faso, representing nearly 13 585 individuals, and was co-funded by the European Commission. The findings build on innovative household data that, for the first time, combine questions related to migration and to public policies. It is part of a larger comparative project involving nine other countries: Armenia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Haiti, Morocco and the Philippines.

Migrants and the remittances they send make a positive contribution to the development of their countries of origin. In Burkina Faso, emigrants make up between 8% and 10% of the country’s population (about 90% of them live in Côte d’Ivoire) and remittances have grown from 1% of GDP in 2009 to 4% in 2015. At the same time, many Burkinabè returned or immigrated (for those born there) from Côte d’Ivoire during the decade-long conflict in that country. All of these aspects contribute to the development of Burkina Faso, but for this contribution to be fully exploited, the effects of migration on the various sectors have to be systematically taken into account in the process of policymaking, and the same about the effects of sectoral policies on migration. To that end, Burkina Faso adopted a migration strategy in early 2017, providing guidance for public authorities to best enhance the value of migration for the country

The report finds that sustaining and deepening the efforts made by the government will be key to ensuring that the role of public policies on migration is fully taken into account. In particular, the objectives of migration and policies in other sectors need to be aligned with each other to a greater extent. Better policy coherence will deflect the risks of unintended outcomes, which can compromise the effectiveness of public policies in Burkina Faso.

Countries should focus on establishing the conditions under which people can freely decide if they want to leave or stay. The role of policies should therefore be to create an environment where people migrate by choice, not by force. One expectation, for example, is that relieving the financial constraints faced by agricultural households through subsidies might reduce migration outflows, since emigrants often leave in search of a revenue source. Yet, the IPPMD findings suggest that agricultural households benefiting from agricultural subsidies were more likely to have a member planning to migrate to another country. The same can be said about educational programmes, such as free textbooks and meal programmes for children, where emigrant households were more likely to have benefited. One might also expect vocational training to reduce pressure to emigrate, but instead they are associated with individual plans to do so.

These linkages can be used to better leverage migration for development in Burkina Faso. For instance, agricultural subsidies are also linked with higher rates of return migration, which tends to lead to diversification and expansion of agricultural activities. In addition, remittances are often channelled towards educational expenditures, allowing children to attend school and in better conditions. Immigrants in Burkina Faso contribute to the labour market in a positive way, using employment agencies in Burkina Faso to find jobs that best match their skills with the demand in the country.

Burkina Faso remains a poor country but leveraging the most out of migration for development can help put itself on a path towards becoming a middle-income country. For this to happen, however, policy makers should aim at creating an environment where lack of opportunity is not the reason why people emigrate from Burkina Faso, and where those who do emigrate can positively contribute to the development of their country. In this respect, a more coherent policy agenda requires that policy makers continue working towards including migration in the design, implementation and evaluation of all relevant sectoral policies.

Burkina Faso already has the institutional infrastructure and capacity to do so. The new stratégie nationale de migration, for instance, is a strategic tool where a review of sectoral strategies across the country from each relevant ministry could be instituted and bring in experts on migration to participate in ongoing discussions in designing them.

For more information on the IPPMD project, please visit: www.oecd.org/dev/migration-development/ippmd.htm.

Please click here to read the IPPMD full report.

Requests for interviews or a copy of the report should be directed to Jason Gagnon (jason.gagnon@oecd.org; +33 (0)1 45 24 98 94) at the OECD Development Centre. In Burkina Faso, you can also contact Jean-François Kobiané, Director of the ISSP directeur@issp.bf; + 226 25 30 25 58/59



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