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Scientific diasporas as development partners

Skilled migrants from Colombia, India and South Africa in Switzerland: empirical evidence and policy responses- Preface by Jean-Baptiste Meyer

Edited By Gabriela Tejada Guerrero and Jean-Claude Bolay

Over the last two decades, globalisation has accelerated international migration flows, particularly of skilled labour. Yet increasing migration by skilled workers from developing countries («brain drain») has raised serious concerns internationally about the adverse development impact on their countries of origin. This book, however, highlights the positive aspects of skilled labour migration as scientific diasporas are playing a growing role in the transfer of technology, skills and knowledge («brain gain») to their home countries. This is a very significant development in a globalised world where science, technology and knowledge can trigger economic and social transformations. The book presents solid empirical evidence of the contributions scientific diasporas make to their countries of origin, based on primary surveys of skilled migrants from Colombia, India and South Africa employed in Switzerland, a major destination country. The findings lead to a better understanding of the motives for migration, the profile of the scientific diaspora communities in Switzerland, and the varied ways in which they help their home countries. The book makes a significant contribution to the international policy debate and dialogue on migration and development. In particular, it shows how to leverage the potential of scientific diasporas as agents of home country development, by identifying good practices and offering specific recommendations for the countries of origin and of destination.

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Executive Summary XXIII

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Executive Summary The chapter by JEAN-CLAUDE BOLAY considers the importance of science and technology for development and it suggests that North-South scientific coop- eration could be a starting point for progress towards sustainable worldwide development. The chapter highlights the essential role human resources, scien- tists and professional elites can play, insofar as they are key factors in develop- ment cooperation and in transforming society in emerging and developing coun- tries. The chapter describes how globalization stimulates an internationalization of the economy and how it links every corner of the planet through technologi- cal progress in a context of technological expansion and innovation, as users appropriate and redefine it. However, the chapter emphasises the fact that nei- ther the technological revolution nor the globalization of the economy have managed to have any impact in terms of reducing social inequalities, instead accentuating these disparities and leading to an increase in poverty in many countries and regions around the world. Moving away from this reality, the author invites us to reflect on the relationship between information technology and social development, and he encourages developing countries to invest in human resources so that these technologies can be applied for the benefit of endogenous development. Even though investment in experimental research and development (R & D) is the main driving force behind innovation, the au- thor provides data showing how this investment is concentrated in a small group of the world’s industrialized countries. Many developing countries, which ob- viously invest less in this area, find themselves...

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