Does brain drain from poor to richer countries only have negative effects? Femise report studies the cases of Palestine and Tunisia
A report published by the EU-funded Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Institutes (FEMISE) addresses some of the main issues raised by migration and remittances, by looking into their macroeconomic role and their determinants and into the impacts of skilled migration on human capital accumulation and growth, through the cases of Palestine and Tunisia.
The report consists of two papers; the first paper explores the significant macroeconomic effects of remittance inflows on the Palestinian economy. The main purpose of the second paper is to study the impact of both the brain-drain and the brain-gain on human capital accumulation (HC) and consequently on growth. Within this same context, the determinants of return migration are also examined.
“Every year around 25,000 Tunisians leave their country because of structural unemployment which prevents them from finding work,” says Mongi Boughzala, Professor of Economics and Management at Tunis University and one of the authors of the report.
“Does human capital accumulation benefit the country and does it contribute to growth? There are undeniable positive elements; more qualified, better trained young people and increasing relocation represent 11% of Tunisia’s foreign earnings – but if you think of it in terms of net income, it doesn’t add up, the losses are greater than the gains,” is the only conclusion Mongi Boughzala came to from data he analysed.
“There can only be a net benefit when qualified migrants decide to come back to their country of origin,” suggests the economist. This is the case for Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. However, the more skills these migrants have, the greater their degree of integration in the host country and the more settled they are, the less likely they are to return. Will the Arab Spring change anything? “There are still many obstacles to overcome, it will take time,” Mongi Boughzala cautiously warns. For that to happen, there would need to be employment opportunities in their own country that do not exist at the moment.
FEMISE is an EU-funded project, which aims to contribute to the reinforcement of dialogue on economic and financial issues in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean. More specifically, it seeks to improve understanding of the priority stakes in the economic and social spheres, and their repercussions on the Mediterranean partners in the framework of their implementation of EU Association Agreements and Action Plans. (ENPI Info Centre)