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Migration, Territories and Development: In Search of a New Model for Interactions

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Jan 12, 2015 / 0 Comments

Episode 1: Migration: A Multifaceted Phenomenon




What are we going to discuss? International migration, diasporas, development, migrants’ territories of origin, host countries…and links that migrants forge each day involving all these elements. We will discuss these issues in 8 posts. Please feel free to comment, criticize, make suggestions, question, agree, or disagree. This is a space to make your voice heard.


International human migration is the fourth component of globalization, after the trade of goods, financial movements, and information flows. Of the four, it has the most complex characteristics, because it is based primarily on an amalgam of social practices that relate to individual or micro-collective behaviors that have largely been disregarded by public policies or major private sector players. Leaving or going back to one’s home country; moving to a host country; settling there; transferring funds, rights, or skills—these are all based on decisions that cannot be easily regulated, influenced, or constrained.


This prevalence of an infinite variety of individual practices produces a vast mosaic of phenomena that cannot easily be configured, given their nature. Viewing migration in relation to development compounds the difficulty of gaining an understanding so as to take action.  Attention must therefore be paid to the events that trigger migration, to the changes and very rapid developments in these events, accelerated by the overall higher levels of education (across the entire globe) and the fairly new means of travel and communication.


The discovery of the 2000s. The potential role of migrants in the development of their countries of origin was in fact “discovered” in the early 2000s, when it was observed that migrants the world over were making money transfers that were three times larger than development assistance flows. The focus of the analysis of the migration-development nexus then shifted to these money transfers.


However, no link between these transfers and development (economic growth or poverty reduction) has yet been established. Instead, contradictory relationships have been identified.  Migration then began to be perceived as a total social phenomenon, and the connection between migration and development viewed in a multidimensional context: sociological, historical, anthropological, legal, geographical, political, etc., and not solely from an economic standpoint.


What support policies should be put in place? The authorities in the home and host countries very quickly sought to define public policies in a bid to leverage these transfers. These policies have to date been defined at the national level in the North (host countries) and South (countries of origin) alike. All of these policies seek to channel these transfers toward productive investments.


However, the various types of support that migrants can provide for the development of their home countries are, as is the case with the other migration-related behaviors, based on social practices that existed independently of public policies. While they may or may not encourage support, formulation and implementation of these policies remains a sensitive and complex issue, given the diversity of migrant populations, their behaviors, and the nature of their connection to their country or region of origin.


Hence the difficulty to date of formulating national public policies that have a significant impact on these transfers and their use in the emigrant and immigrant countries!


During this series, we will try to understand these difficulties and how they can be overcome.

This blog series consists of 8 episodes:

  1. 1. Migration: a multifaceted phenomenon
  2. 2. A gradual change in migration and how it is perceived
  3. 3. Migration: a problem or a reflection of societies? 
  4. 4. How Are Development and Migration Linked? 
  5. 5. Migrants as a catalyst for development in a country 
  6. 6. How Can Migration Be More Forcefully Linked with Development of the Home Country? 
  7. 7. Communities for Shared Development as a response to the new features of the territory and the Diasporas
  8. 8. Extending the Concept of Communities for Shared Development to the Rest of the World 



Jacques OULD AOUDIA is a Development Economics Researcher.

Professional experience: Until 2011: Economist at the Treasury Directorate (Ministry of Economy, France): analysis of the institutional foundations of development economics, in particular in the Arab world. Research associate at the Royal Institute of Strategic Studies (IRES, Morocco).

Volunteer work: President of the “Migration and Development” association established by Moroccan migrants in 1986. Website of the association:

Author of several publications: including: Captation ou création de richesse? Une convergence inattendue entre Nord et Sud, Gallimard, Le Débat n°178, January-February, 2014 ; Des migrants marocains acteurs du développement, (with Yves Bourron), Hommes & Migrations No.1303, July-September, 2013.

Author website:   


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