Assessment of National Emigration Policy Adjustments as They Pertain to African and U.S. Foreign Relations

Assessment of National Emigration Policy Adjustments as They Pertain to African and U.S. Foreign Relations


By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Interdisciplinary Studies in Leadership

Norwich University

May 29, 2017


The following report is an assessment of national and regional emigration policy as they pertain to African and U.S. foreign relations. The basis of this assessment is extracted from research conducted by Timothy J. Hatton of the University of Essex and Jeffrey G. Williamson of Harvard University titled, “Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa.”  The research was prepared for and presented at a conference on “Population Dynamics and The Macro Economy” at Harvard University, September 11-12th, 2000.

This report will analyze the findings of the Hatton & Williamson research.  Hatton & Williamson compared African emigration with the European exodus to the New World in the 19th century and looks at what forces are drivers in emigration both regionally and across borders.

Table of Contents

Summary                                                                                                                 i

Introduction                                                                                                            3

The Drivers of Emigration   Past and Present                                                   4

Wages and Economic Disparities                                                               5

War and Upheaval                                                                                         6

Demographic Booms (Figure 1)                                                                  6

The Impact of Emigration, Sending and Receiving—————————————–                                                                  6

Conclusions                                                                                                               7

Appendix A:——————————————————————————————–n/a

Appendix B:                                                                                                          n/a

References                                                                                                                  8



This report is divided into two main sections that look at the first the drivers of emigration as it pertains to African and U.S. foreign relations.  The three particular drivers examined will be wages and economic disparities, war and upheaval and demographic booms.  The research will be extracted from Hatton and Williamson’s proposal, “Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa.” The last section will look at population dynamics and ramifications of emigration in a fourth subheading titled “Impact of Emigration Sending and Receiving.” The conclusion will look at proposals such as Hatton and Williamson’s work towards a solution to the problem of net migration and its connected problems.

The Drivers of Emigration

Many have been known to migrate outside their borders as was detailed by Hatton & Williamson’s research.  Hatton and Williamson suggested several key forces that drive emigration regionally and across borders.  It was detailed by Hatton and Williamson that many choose to emigrant to OECD countries with higher wages which is the: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  The OECD includes the following countries:

Figure 1. OECD Member Countries with Dates of Entry into Organization
AUSTRALIA 7 June 1971
AUSTRIA 29 September 1961
BELGIUM 13 September 1961
CANADA 10 April 1961
CHILE 7 May 2010
CZECH REPUBLIC 21 December 1995
DENMARK 30 May 1961
ESTONIA 9 December 2010
FINLAND 28 January 1969
FRANCE 7 August 1961
GERMANY 27 September 1961
GREECE 27 September 1961
HUNGARY 7 May 1996


ICELAND 5 June 1961
IRELAND 17 August 1961
ISRAEL 7 September 2010
ITALY 29 March 1962
JAPAN 28 April 1964
KOREA 12 December 1996
LATVIA 1 July 2016
LUXEMBOURG 7 December 1961
MEXICO 18 May 1994
NETHERLANDS 13 November 1961
NEW ZEALAND 29 May 1973
NORWAY 4 July 1961
POLAND 22 November 1996
PORTUGAL 4 August 1961
SLOVAK REPUBLIC 14 December 2000
SLOVENIA 21 July 2010
SPAIN 3 August 1961
SWEDEN 28 September 1961
SWITZERLAND 28 September 1961
TURKEY 2 August 1961
UNITED STATES 12 April 1961


OECD, however is not inclusive of the entire world and does not include any African countries whatsoever.  It is not clear, what is the criteria for membership into such a group as OECD and what one would hope for as an outcome?  It is claimed by Hatton and Williamson’s research that OECD countries were “go to” countries where Africans have chosen to emigrate in search of higher wages that appear to run tandem with advanced development.

It is not clear, if Africans were deliberately excluded from such groups as OECD, who initiated the OECD and what were their chief goals and concerns. The earliest date of membership is dated 12 April 1961 with the United States as the earliest member.  In January of 1961, John F. Kennedy assumed the Presidency of the


United States until 1963 and likely initiated the OECD with Dwight D. Eisenhower as Vice President.

According to Hatton and Williamson (1998, pg.3), “legal restrictions into high wage OECD countries have certainly choked off potential migration.” What is suggested by Hatton and Williamson’s quote is that migration among Africans may have been deliberately contemplated and directed with legal and myriad restrictions.

According to the OECD:

“Convention No. 143 adopted by the 1975 ILO

Conference defines clandestine or illegal migration movements as those where migrants find themselves during their journey, on arrival or during their period of residence and employment [in] conditions contravening relevant international multilateral or bilateral instruments or agreements, or national laws or regulations.” (Moulier Boutang, Garson and Silberman, 1986). “This definition places the stress on the diverse aspects of irregularity: entry, residence in the host country and the undertaking of an occupation.”

What the OECD illustrated was that recipient countries were limited in terms of their acceptance of new entrants.  (OECD, 1999, pg.293) Regulations generally governed access to the labor markets.  “This policy orientation is now common to all countries of Europe, particularly the new countries of immigration in the South (i.e. Italy, Spain, Greece & Portugal) as well as  to North America, although US and Canada are still open to regular immigration.” (OECD, 199, pg. 293)


Wages and Economic Disparities

Hatton and Williamson (1998, pg.482) cited OECD wage increase of 40% by 2025 as having an impact on wage disparities between the African Continent and what are considered “developed” OECD nations.  Wages are said to be one of the chief drivers historically of migration that drove the Europeans to migrate in the 19th century.  If past predicts future, differences in economy will parallel migration as citizens go in search for a better quality of life. Many of those who emigrate also attract their friends and family to their host country and a “friends and family theory,” was supported by Hatton and Williamson (1998, pg. 483).  “A third of African arriving in the 1990’s classified as close relatives of U.S. citizens.”(Hatton & Williamson, 1998, pg. 480)


War & Upheaval

Several key indicators were cited by Hatton and Williamson (1998, pgs. 483-484) including achieving a refugee status, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, war and political upheaval. Examples such as how 100,000 refugees from Burundi returned to their home country in early 1994 as soon as fighting receded by way of the UNHCR Resettlement and Repatriation Act. Civil war in Zaire in 1996 when the Mobutu regime was overthrown 600,000 or 700,000 Rwandan’s became refugees. (Hatton & Williamson, 1998, pg. 480)

There is a World Refugee Survey that details global population migration.  Hatton and Williamson suggested that during conflicts citizens become refugees and are pushed across borders to neighboring countries rural areas and live in settlements.  Refugees often return to their home country where they fair better assimilation, cultural commonalities and support network.


Demographic Booms

Commodity booms such as cocoa production in Ghana and mineral oil in Nigeria have caused large numbers to migrate. There are also rural-urban migrations that do not appear to be impacted by education. Those with more education seem to fare well in the rural-urban shifts. Youth aged 15-29 appear to be the biggest numbers migrating as  work environments get over-crowded, spurring the youth to go elsewhere to seek jobs. (Hatton & Williamson, 1998, pg. 483)


The Impact of Emigration Sending and Receiving

OECD has formed stringent policy on curbing migration into their areas.  Hatton and Williamson cited a theory called “net out” where accepting emigrants or clandestine emigrants to one’s country may push others out even replace them in work.  There is a wide spread fear in receiving countries that emigrants will replace their citizens in work, often working harder and for lower wages. In some cases emigrants are described as roaming work forces.



Even the slightest knowledge about wage increases elsewhere can ignite regional or cross border exchanges.  Hatton and Williamson did not go into detail about the long term effects of migration.  The OECD report detailed legal versus illegal immigration and at what point one is breaking the law.



Other things still may impact African emigration.  The African’s who are successfully emigrating are likely students and were in pursuit of an education.  Still others may be beholden to their architecture as OCED also cited Moroccan’s as migrating into southern Europe.  Morocco has clay structured cave like housing that after new generations were born the architecture may no longer accommodate them.  Depending on one’s lense, these cultural curiosities, highly skilled, roaming work forces may be welcome or not welcome.  Emigrants in France were said to have taken over ~17% of the country.  No one seems to be compassionate when upheaval occurs, and no one appears to look for root causes that may remedy a problem or a suffering population within or outside their home country.

Population dynamics and the factors that shift net migration are diverse but perhaps just a handful of things makes one pick up and leave their home country in search very often for an all-around better quality of life-inclusive of health care, education, food supply, housing, government, lack of war, higher wage and a possibility to elevate themselves and their extended family via wiring monies home etc.  Perhaps conditions become unbearable or unlivable or too hostile or countries go into transition and world organizations do and do not respond effectively.

Additional information can be found by looking at Census Bureau statistics, reports from the United Nations, and The World Refugee Survey.



Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa, Scandinavia Journal of Economics, 105(3), 465–486, 2003, 1998

List of OECD Member Countries,

Annual Report, Trends in International Migration:  Continuous Reporting System on Migration, 1999 Edition,



















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