Globalization, migration and underdevelopment in West Africa
Migration is not a new phenomenon. However, globalization has put a new spin on igration, which results in greater economic opportunities for the developed nations to the disadvantage of developing nations of Africa. Globalization implies and does entail free movement of goods and ideas between and across borders, trade liberalization, movement of capital for greater and speedier returns and repatriation of profits from quick yielding investments from the developing to the developed nations. The consequence is that, globalization exacerbates inequality between the developed and the developing nations. This paper demonstrates the various ways by which globalization impacts on migration and in the process engenders underdevelopment in West Africa. In the first place, the unencumbered movement of capital, trade and technology accompanied by capitalists “experts” from the developed nations into Africa has led not only to disruptions in African economies but also contributed to the high level of unemployment especially of the youth, wage decline, job insecurity and general poverty in the continent. In West Africa, agriculture is rendered purposeless on account of the massive agricultural subsidies enjoyed by the developed nations thereby increasing the tendency to dump their agricultural products in the sub-region. The migration of the disadvantaged and economically displaced peoples of Africa to the developed nations is a natural response to the severe pains and plunder inflicted on the continent by the forces of globalization and capitalism. In an attempt to address the imbalance created by globalization and to prevent Africans seeking economic refuge by migrating to their countries, the developed nations dangle such palliatives as debt relief and development aid that provide only cosmetic solutions to the problems of underdevelopment in West Africa that generates migration in the first place. The question is: What are West African leaders doing to contend with the challenges posed by globalization and migration in the West African sub-region? Finally, the paper examines policy contradictions within the global system towards migration and recommends a more integrated approach.