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[Migrations in Africa: comments on the article by Professor Adepoju] Les migrations en Afrique: commentaires de l'article du Prof. Adepoju.
[Unpublished] 1986. Presented at the All-Africa Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Harare, Zimbabwe, May 12-16, 1986. 10 p.This paper contains comments on the paper delivered by A. Adepoju to the 1986 PanAfrican Conference of Parlementarians on Population and Development in Harare, Zimbabwe. Scarcely 20 years ago, economists saw migration as a sign of economic progress in which rural populations were slowly transferred to the urban industrial centers where thousands of jobs awaited them. It is now known that the speed and intensity of migration pose serious economic, social, and political problems for African countries. No country has an optimal spatial distribution of population. Natural resources, soil quality, and poles of economic growth are unevenly distributed. Migration is principally a process of adjusting settlement patterns to resources and economic conditions. What is now astounding in Africa is the huge gap between the quality of life in rural and urban areas. The rural exodus of the past 2 decades in most African countries has been due not so much to drought or other natural disasters as to insufficiency of resources in the countryside. A policy to distribute resources between rural and urban zones would constitute a true policy of population distribution. During the decade from 1980-90, the pace of urbanization in Africa is expected to decline. Current projections do not anticipate continuing economic crisis or natural disasters. Creation of urban jobs to combat unemployment in the cities has had the effect of intensifying the rural exodus, transforming the problem of urban unemployment into a permanent structural problem. Rural resettlement programs and sedentarization programs for nomads are limited solutions to problems of spatial distribution which frequently lack true political support for the extended periods necessary to ensure their success. Their greatest challenge is to provide the means of retaining the children of the original settlers so that new migratory flows do not arise from them. Policies to encourage the growth of medium sized cities in order to reduce migration to the capital are even harder to implement than rural resettlement programs, and appear to hold limited promise in Africa. Given the low degree of industrialization in Africa, few countries are capable of creating new urban growth poles offering sufficiently diversified employment to divert migrants from the capital. The observation over the past several decades in Africa has been that the larger the city, the more migrants it attracts. International migration within Africa has probably lessened in intensity since the 1970s due to economic problems in the countryside. Free circulation of population is however required if Africa is to be an economic community. The "brain drain" is a source of worry to many governments despite the shortterm benefits derived from remittances. Overall, few African governments have coherent migration policies. Only by giving migration policy priority in development plans can African countries hope to influence the distribution of their populations.
Baltimore, Md., Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980. xv, 463 p.Add to my documents.