To read this content please select one of the options below:

Impact of migration on economic growth and human development: Case of Sub-Saharan African countries

Olusegun Ayodele Akanbi (Department of Economics, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of migration on economic growth and human development in selected Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries.


The estimations were carried out in a panel of 19 selected SSA countries over the period 1990-2013, using the two-stage least squares estimation techniques. Two measures of migration, namely stock of international migrants and the ratio of personal remittances received to personal remittances paid were used in the study to carry out this investigation.


The results conform to the findings of existing literature, namely that social expenditure, domestic investment, financial inclusion, income inequality, income and human poverty are significant determinants of either human development or per capita GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa. The distinctive feature of the study is the significant but negative role played by migration in explaining human development and economic growth in the region. The results from the panel estimations reveal that an increase in the measures of migration deteriorates the level of human development and growth of the region.

Research limitations/implications

The major limitation of this study is the unavailability of quality data on migration flows. Therefore, it would be imperative to reinvestigate the specifications adopted in this study in follow-up studies.

Practical implications

The study includes implications for policy makers, especially in SSA countries, that the pattern and flow of migration does not circulate within the region and has tended to drain out human capital to other regions of the world. In the same event, the stock of migrants residing in the region may be low-skilled migrants that do not contribute directly to the level of human development.


To assess the impact of migration on economic growth and development such as the SSA region, it is imperative to follow the growth-based, capacity-based and asset-based approaches to development. This study has made this distinction.



This work is based on the research supported by the National Research Foundation South Africa.


Akanbi, O.A. (2017), "Impact of migration on economic growth and human development: Case of Sub-Saharan African countries", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 5, pp. 683-695.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles