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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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Chapter 7 The South African Scientific Diaspora in Switzerland by Francelle KWANKAM 411

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341 1980 aimed to promote income generation for the unemployed and improve living conditions and rural infrastructure. In 2005, the Rural Employment Guar- antee Bill was amended by the Indian Parliament. It strives to promote mini- mum wage employment to rural households in India. There is concern about increasing inflation, which continues to impover- ish many households especially in rural areas, despite government efforts. In- flation is expected not to exceed 5 percent according to official objectives. The agricultural sector lies behind, although it accounts for the majority of the In- dian workforce. It hardly exceeds 2 percent growth on average over three years. Many peasants face hard living conditions. Unemployment is also another major government challenge with 106 million, almost 10 percent of the population, unemployed from 1990–2000 (Government of India). The infrastructure is scarce and poorly managed. Since independence, the five-year plan has been focusing on infrastructural development. Corruption, bureaucratic constraints, urban gaps and inefficient investment have hindered the development of infrastructure (Sankaram, 1994). With economic reforms, infrastructure has been opened up to the private sector to attract foreign direct investment (Hiscock, 2004), resulting in a sustained growth rate of nearly 9 percent for the past years (Economic Survey, 2004–2005). The Indian political system India has a democratic system with regular elections, respect for freedom of speech and an active role of media and civil society. The new ruling coalition government (United Progressive Alliance under the mantle of the Congress Party) strives to undertake reforms to...

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