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Plans to discuss how migrants can help their home countries

A MAJOR conference to discuss how the growing number of migrants worldwide can help with the problems of the countries they have left behind will be held in London on Monday July 11.

Chaired by the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable PJ Patterson, it is part of a wide-ranging project, focusing particularly on Commonwealth migration, being carried out by the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development.

Reports by the commission have highlighted the growth of migration and its impact, particularly the brain drain of qualified people from smaller developing countries.

Speaking on the eve of the conference today Mr Patterson said: “There are more than 200 million migrants worldwide today – nearly a quarter from Commonwealth countries. They send back billions of pounds in remittances but their skills are lost to the countries from which they come.

“This conference is about redressing the balance – to find ways in which migrant skills can contribute for the benefit of their countries of origin – and how the money they send back can be better used to assist development.”

Sessions at the conference, which is being supported by the Ramphal Centre and the African and Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise, are taking place at the Royal Overseas League in London.

Participants will consider how money sent back by migrants can help fund new businesses and development projects and also encourage skills, and look at examples of successful projects. Speakers will include bankers and business people as well as academics and representatives of diaspora organisations from many Commonwealth countries.

The Commission is particularly concerned by the high levels of skilled emigration from least developed states. Its figures show:

• In sub-Saharan Africa, since 2000, nearly 16,000 nurses have registered to work in the UK.

• In Zambia, only 50 out of 600 doctors trained since independence are still practising in the country.

• Since the 1990s, skilled migration from Ghana has made it the country with the highest emigration rates for the highly skilled with an estimated 56 percent of doctors and 24 percent of nurses trained in Ghana are now working abroad.

• In the Caribbean, some 70 percent of tertiary educated graduates migrate.
• In Guyana, it is reported that 300 teachers are trained each year and the same number emigrates annually

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