Georgia, Tbilisi – 28 March 2017 - Georgia would benefit from strengthening its whole-of-government approach to making migration become an integral part of its overall development strategies, argues a new joint OECD Development Centre - Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) report titled, Interrelations between Public Policies, Migration and Development (IPPMD) in Georgia.
The report was launched today at the Public Service Hall in Tbilisi, along with the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the State Commission on Migration Issues (SCMI), CRRC-Georgia and key policy makers from several ministries in Georgia. It examines how migration affects key policy sectors in Georgia, particularly the labour market, agriculture, education, and investment and financial services. It also analyses how sectoral policies influence different migration outcomes, such as the decision to emigrate or return, and remittance patterns.
IPPMD in Georgia is the result of four years of fieldwork, empirical analysis and policy dialogues involving data collection from 2 260 households in Georgia, representing nearly 9 000 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, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Morocco and the Philippines.
Migrants and the remittances they send make a positive contribution to the development of their countries of origin. In Georgia, remittances grew by more than 500% between 2004 and 2014. 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, Georgia created the SCMI in 2010 and developed two migration strategies, respectively in 2013 and in 2016, 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 SCMI will be key to ensuring 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 Georgia.
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 a large voucher programme, which provided them with financial help for their harvesting activities, were more likely to have a member in the household who had migrated to another country. Similarly, money transfers made by migrants, which constitute an important source of finance for Georgia, can be leveraged even more than they already are. It is striking that only 1% of the households interviewed in Georgia have had financial training in the five years prior to the survey and that none of the 71 communities in which leaders were interviewed had reported providing a course on financial literacy. These low rates of financial training represent a missed opportunity, since remittances provide households with the chance to channel them towards productive investment.
Georgia’s economic and social growth story has been remarkable; in July 2016, it graduated from the World Bank’s lower middle- to upper middle-income group. Leveraging the most out of migration for development can help it continue on its converging path towards becoming a high-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 Georgia, 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.
Georgia already has the institutional infrastructure and capacity to do so. The SCMI, for instance, is a strategic place to institute a review of sectoral strategies across the country from each relevant ministry 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@oecd.org; Tel: +33 1 45 24 98 94) at the OECD Development Centre.