Copyright © 2009 International Development Options
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Volume Five Winter 2008-Spring 2009 Numbers 3-4.
THEME: GLOBAL LABOR MIGRATION AND EMERGING TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENT FINANCING:
AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPCT OF MIGRANT (WORKER) REMITTANCES
IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
MIGRATION, REMITTANCES AND DEVELOPMENT IN WEST AFRICA: THE CASE OF SENEGAL
Hannah M. Cross
School of Politics and International Studies
University of Leeds
Published Online: March 15, 2017
International financial institutions, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have recognized that migrant remittances have the potential to contribute significantly to development at the macroeconomic level. This article analyses qualitatively the developmental causes and effects of West African remittances. It begins with an overview of the policy-related literature. The next section describes a brief history of West African labor migration and, to illustrate the turbulent and multifarious nature of current migrations, includes examination of West African migrants in Mauritania, their circumstances and methods of remitting. Following this, the article analyses the complex relationship between labor migration, remittances and development in Senegal. The channeling of remittances for development at the local level, and empirical research to reflect this, are well established in Senegal. In recent years, however, effective restrictions of particular routes and destination countries have led to a dispersal of networks, routes, destinations and outcomes, leaving shortcomings in data. This article attempts to document some of these changes in the political economy of contemporary labor migration. This embodies clandestine migration, which usually has the goal of regularization, finding work and remitting. In describing these changes and examining their impact, I analyze the prospects of financial intervention in remittances to aid development. This article argues that while emigration is historically a driver of development in Senegal, evident in the towns, villages and industries which have modernized and expanded with the help of migrant remittances, it has increasingly become an insecure means of supplying households left unsustainable by underemployment and steeply rising prices of basic commodities. This reflects a global shift towards more chaotic migration.