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Is It Time For Open Borders In Southern Africa? The Case for Free Labour Movement in SADC

Adrian Kitimbo

Book / Publication · Published 20 April 2014



Migration experts have long established the economic benefits – more trade, greater entrepreneurship, fewer skills shortages – of free movement of persons, including labour. Some regions of Africa, notably East and West Africa, are taking bold steps to remove barriers and open up borders.

But free labour movement, in particular, remains controversial, nowhere more so than in Southern Africa. Despite various commitments by the governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to reduce obstacles to labour mobility, restrictive national policies remain the norm.

This Discussion Paper assesses the potential economic benefits and costs of free labour movement in SADC. Authored by the Foundation’s Machel Mandela Intern, Adrian Kitimbo, the Paper argues that a clear and effective framework to manage migration at a regional level would promote growth and help address economic imbalances in Southern Africa.



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