University of Nigeria
Migration, Remittances and Economic Welfare Research Group
Vincent Onodugo (Ph.D.) – Faculty of Business Administration, UNEC
Uzochukwu Amakom (Ph.D.) – Institute for Development Studies, UNEC
Focus of the Research Group
Migration has historically been a major outcome of changing economic environments. In the last three or so decades, it has acquired added significance with the impact of information and communication technology and other components of globalization. Remittance as one of the major products of migration has been growing in both size and importance in many developing countries. Nigeria boasts nearly 50 percent of all remittance flows to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and therefore, it is no longer a matter of supplementing other sources of development and household finance, it is now a major anchor in household financing of development and social growth.
But there are challenges with formulating policies for the utilization of remittance proceeds for development purposes in many developing countries. Poor understanding of the drivers of remittances, weak regulatory framework for managing remittances as well as the disparate structure of the remittance service industry have all meant that policies to channel income from remittances for broader growth and development programmes are weak where they exist at all. Remittance receiving households have hardly been studied and coordination between household resource use and macroeconomic policies remains largely weak in Nigeria. There are indications that the bulk of remittances go to present consumption and only little are put into either physical or related infrastructure development that can effectively complement (or effectively take advantage of) government investments. There are little, if any incentives for remittance senders, recipients or service providers to link remittance receipts to other financial services. In effect, most remittance transactions are treated as one-off activities with the result that remittance-related fraud is rampant and confidence in the market is very low.
Following this, this research group will examine migration and remittances from Nigeria – migration incidence, migrant destinations, characteristics of migrants and remittances from migrants. The interest will be on long-term migrants, who move across international or internal borders while changing their place of residence, not temporary or short-term migrants. Consequently, the definition of migrants for the purpose of the work of the group includes only households members who used to live in the household but are currently living outside the household either within the country or outside the country. The work of the group will be equally interested in the characteristics of non former members of households who send remittances to households, a group which varies widely and range from siblings to friends and even persons who may not be from the country but send remittances to the household and which help in household subsistence. The work of the group will also deal with return migrants, a set of household members who used to live outside the household either within the country or outside the country but have now returned to live in the household.
The work of the group will aim to find why people groups move and what factors make some people groups move more than others. For example in Nigeria, it is evident that international migration is higher from States in the South than those in the North. It will be useful to know the relative influences of economic, socio-cultural and political factors in defining these trends and what policies can help amend them, where useful. The group will also examine remittances from former household members who moved across international or internal borders and also from persons who were not former members of households but who send remittances to households in the country as well as return migrants. The work of the gorup will largely rely on surveys, desk reviews, and econometric analyses that creatively combine secondary and primary data to outline trends, effects, outcomes and implications. The work shall move on to raise questions on implications of migrant characteristics and remittances on such outcomes as probability of child education, health status, access to assets, relative sources of remittances (between the OECD, Asia, other Africa, etc.)