GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
Copyright © 2009 International Development Options
All Rights Reserved
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
DIASPORA DOLLARS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: REMITTANCE PATTERNS OF ZIMBABWE
NATIONALS BASED IN SOUTH AFRICA
Department of Social Work
University of Botswana
Private Bag UB 00705
Published Online: March 15, 2017
Over the years, an estimated three to four million Zimbabwe nationals have left the country to seek greener pastures in Southern Africa and beyond. Some have left because of the prevailing economic meltdown while many others have left because of the charged political prevailing in the country. While many migrants remit money back to Zimbabwe, what remains unclear is the impact of remittances on Zimbabwe, and whether the migration of Zimbabwean nationals to the Diasporas should be considered a boon or a curse for the country. This article attempts to answer these pertinent questions by exploring remittance patterns of Zimbabwe nationals residing in South Africa. It concludes, based on empirical evidence from a study conducted in 2003-2004, that the brain drain is in fact, neither a curse nor a boon for Zimbabwe. It argues that the brain drain does not constitute a curse, given that Zimbabwe has been experiencing incredibly high levels of unemployment (80 percent) and also that the migration has resulted in considerable remittances which have helped mitigate the suffering of millions of Zimbabweans back home. The article further observes that the brain drain cannot possibly be viewed as a boon either, because while remittances have helped enormously in terms of poverty alleviation, the down side is that the amounts of money sent back home have had no significant impact on productive investment over the years. Admittedly, remittances have helped the country remain afloat by making possible purchase of basic commodities for consumption and fuel from neighboring countries.