'South-South' Remittance - Poverty reduction nexus. The Case of 'Hadiya' immigrants in South Africa, as Agents of 'Constituence development' in Ethiopia, and the policy implications of their 'remittance instrument'

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Title: 'South-South' Remittance - Poverty reduction nexus. The Case of 'Hadiya' immigrants in South Africa, as Agents of 'Constituence development' in Ethiopia, and the policy implications of their 'remittance instrument'
Author: Mengesha, Gasahw
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This thesis explores the link between South-South remittance and development. It attempts to establish improved understanding about the role of immigrants as agents of constituency growth and development. By doing so, it illuminates the dark corners of the policy implications that the unconventional development agency of immigrants might have for countries in the Organization ft Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The thesis problematises the existence of state-centric international cooperation as providing the recipe for failed Aid in the face of global poverty menace. In the last half a century, the relative shi of focus to non-state actors brought about the proliferation of NGOs. That, intrun, helped improve international access to crisis situations; however, their long-term remedial impacts on poverty and development have been contested. Major misgivings for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are, on one hand, low level goal-bound expenditures and lack of independence from influence of the state, on the other. Therefore, the thesis enterprises to empirically verify its fundamental question whether remitting immigrants constitute an alternative development agency to the traditional players: the State and NGOs. Its main arguments are: due to states failures in bringing sustainable development in many countries of the South, the future of poverty reduction and development also rests in immigrants remittances. Nonetheless, in the last decade, remittance security-nexus dominated its discourse. Because of that remittance was viewed as something requiring global regime and restrictions. These temptations to tightly regulate remittance flows carry the danger of overlooking its trans-boundary nature and its strong link with livelihood of the poor. Therefore, to avoid unintended consequences of interventions, there need to be clear policy that bases itself on a discursive knowledge on the issues of North-South and South-South remittances The study involved both literature based and empirical research. It employed Discourse Analysis (C as main method for the former and snow-balling as its approach for the latter. For the first part the thesis constructed three conceptual models, these are: metrological model, police model and ecological model on remittance development-nexus. Through this modeling, the thesis achieved better deconstruction on the concepts remittance, immigrants and development agency. The protagonists of each model, the values and interests they represent, and their main arguments along various lines of dichotomies have been discussed. For instance, the main treats of meteorological model include: it sees remittance as transitional economic variable which require constant speculations and global management; it acts as meteorological station for following up or predicting the level, direction, flow and movement of global remittance. It focuses on official lines and considers the state as legitimate recipient of advic and positive consequence of remittance. On the other hand, police model views remittance as beir at best, development neutral or as an illicit activity requiring global regulations and tight control. Both immigrants and remittance viewed as subversive to establishments. It gives primacy to state stable agent of development and a partner for international cooperation. The anti-thesis to the police model is supplied by ecological model, which this thesis is a part. Ecological model on remittance and immigrants argues that, tight global regulations alone cannot be a panacea for possible abuse of informal remittance system. Ecological model, not only links remittance to poverty reduction, the main trust of development, but also considers the development agency of immigrants as critical factor for 21st century north-south development intervention. It sees immigrants as development conscious and their remittance instrument as most stable flow of finance to the developing countries. Besides, it sees remittance as effective poverty solutions than Foreign Direct Investment and international AID. This thesis focuses on the significance of South-South remittance and investigates the South Africa - Ethiopia remittance corridor, as case study; and empirically verifies the role of Ethiopian (Kembata and Hadiya) immigrants in South Africa as agents of local development back home. The study involved techniques of interview, group discussions, observations and investigative study. It also looked into the determinants of their migration to South Africa, and their remittance to Ethiopia. The theoretical models in the first part of the thesis have been operationalised throughout the empirical part to verify if the Kembata and Hadiya immigrants played the crucial role in their household poverty and local development in comparison with the Ethiopian state and the NGOs involved in the system. As evidenced by the research the thesis has made three distinct contributions to the discourse of remittance development-nexus. Fist, it systematized the debate about linkages between remittance, immigrants, development agency and policy of international cooperation by creating three conceptual models (school of thoughts); second, it singled out remitting immigrants as new agents of development in the South; third, it deconstructed concept of remittance and established South-South remittance as additional sphere of academic investigation. In addition to the above contributions, the thesis finds that Kembata and Hadiya immigrants have engaged in various developmental activities in their locality than usually anticipated. Hence, it concludes that Ethiopian immigrants constitute an alternative development agency to the state and other non-state actors in their country, and the lesson can be applied to poverty reduction strategies in most developing countries.
URI: URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703271858
Date: 2012
Subject: poverty
South-South remittance
international cooperation
Discipline: Development Studies

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