Expert Warning That Foreign Aid Payments Are Fuelling Mass Migration


While many politicians in Europe have argued for more aid to Africa and other regions to solve mass migration, some experts believe current aid policies may be having the opposite effect.

U.S. economist Michael A. Clemens has claimed in a recent study, which he authored for the Bonn Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA), that current aid policy may be encouraging mass migration rather than preventing it, Die Welt reports.

According to Clemens, current aid policies “only strengthen economic growth, employment and security up to a certain limit”.

The economist added: “Almost all the poor countries that have become rich have experienced large outflows. Rising household income went hand in hand with rising emigration.”

“Higher incomes mean improved ability to pay for direct costs of emigration, but also to invest in things that invite and facilitate migration – such as Internet access, foreign language skills, business connections abroad, or tourist travel,” Clemens added.

Experts have also raised concerns about the population boom in Africa and the effect it will have on local economies that could drive mass migration even further in the near future. Clemens warned: “Migration from Africa is not an option that can be turned off like the faucet.”

Many politicians have recommended the European Union expanding aid projects in Africa with German development minister Gerd Müller last year calling for an African “Marshall Plan” to be implemented. Müller warned that if Europe cut aid to African countries then the migrant crisis would more likely increase in numbers.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the Forza Italia party, also endorsed a similar proposal claiming that the investments in Africa would counter the economic incentive for illegal migration.

For economist Michael A. Clemens, proposed solutions to the problem could lie in countries cooperating in labour issues more closely.

“Especially in Germany, there is a rapidly growing need for nurses. That will stay that way for decades. Currently, Germany is recruiting Vietnamese women. It would be important to offer this training, which ranges from language to specialist knowledge, in countries from which migration is particularly high,” he said.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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