Friday, 13 July 2007

South Africa: Promise of a New Age of Mobility

Business Day (Johannesburg)
OPINION12 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007

Ban Ki-MoonJohannesburg

IT IS common knowledge that we live in a globalised world. Less well understood is the fact that globalisation is taking place in stages.
We are in the second: the age of mobility. In its first stage, as flows of capital and goods were liberated, the benefits of globalisation flowed primarily to the developed world and its principal trading partners. As we enter the newer age of mobility, people will move across borders in ever-greater numbers. In their pursuit of a better life, they have the potential to chip away at the vast inequalities that characterise our time - and accelerate progress throughout the developing world.

To take just one example, migrants sent home $264bn last year, triple all international aid combined. In some countries, a third of families rely on these remittances to keep them out of poverty. Across the developing world, remittances underwrite health care, education and grassroots entrepreneurship.

The freer movement of people helps oil the global economy. When a hospital in London needs nurses, it recruits them from Ghana or Sierra Leone. When Google seeks programmers, developing nations are often the source. Until now, this flow of people has mostly benefited richer countries and generated worries about brain drains in poorer ones. But our knowledge is growing about how to make the migration equation work for everyone. [Read more]

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