Posted by: africanpressorganization | 1 June 2010

Angola / Report Examines the Impact of Remittances from Portugal and South Africa




Angola / Report Examines the Impact of Remittances from Portugal and South Africa



LUANDA, Angola, June 1, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Notes


This new report, part of IOM’s Migration Research Series, examines the social and economic impact of remittances sent by Angolans living in Portugal and South Africa and suggest ways to maximize their development effect in Angola.
The report states that long-standing relationships established since the colonial period between Angola and Portugal, migration dynamics within the South African Development Community (SADC) and the consequences of the prolonged armed conflict in Angola provide the context for Angolan migration flows to Portugal and South Africa, with most Angolans leaving their country of birth in the 1990s.

According to the report, 69.5 per cent of the respondents in Portugal and 91 per cent of those in South Africa are male, with a majority of migrants in Portugal claiming to come from middle class and lower middle class, while most migrants in South Africa saying to come either from a poor socio-economic environment or from the lower middle class.  

Furthermore, 76.5 per cent of migrants interviewed in Portugal and 89.5 per cent of migrants in South Africa are employed or self-employed.

With low levels of qualification (68.8 % of respondents in Portugal and 46.4% in South Africa having only completed basic education), a large proportion of Angolans have taken up low-paid jobs, at the bottom of the occupational hierarchies of the Portuguese and South African labour markets.

This does not however prevent them from supporting their families in Angola through remittances, which constitute an important source of supplementary income for a large share of surveyed households.

The report finds that more than 90 per cent of the total number of households in Angola had received remittances within the past 12 months. In 38 per cent of cases, remittances constitute 21% to 80% of the monthly household income.

For 16 per cent of the households, remittances constitute 100 per cent of monthly income.

As regards remittances’ utilization, 67 per cent of respondents say they are used to meet basic household necessities, buy consumables and pay for utilities. A further 14 per cent say they use a portion of remittances for business purposes; and only 1 per cent of the respondents claim to invest part of the remittance funds in agricultural activities.

Angolan migrants in Portugal and South Africa use essentially two types of transfer channels: recorded services (remittance and courier companies) and hand delivery.

Recorded systems used by migrants in Portugal and South Africa charge on average about 10 per cent of the amount transferred, while hand-carried remittances are usually cost-free.

Although 58 per cent of respondents in Angola claimed they receive remittances through banks, it is unlikely that these remittances come from Portugal or South Africa, as interviewees in both countries rarely use bank products to remit.

When examining intentions of return, a majority of Angolans in Portugal and South Africa say they are willing to return to Angola and intend to invest in small businesses in a wide range of sectors in their country of birth.

Some of these projects, however, are difficult to realize due to lack of capital, access to credit, and necessary skills, or due to the difficulties linked to the migratory status.

Additionally, the majority of Angolan migrants in Portugal (80% of interviewees) and South Africa (62.3% of interviewees) do not belong to any kind of organization or group owing to their lack of interest, lack of time and information, distrust vis-à-vis government-led initiatives, as well as fear and reluctance to be involved in anything that seems political.

The study concludes with three major recommendations in order to establish links with Angolans living abroad, and enhance remittances’ developmental impacts in Angola.

Those include measures to engage Angolans in the diapora through non-biased and non-political intermediaries so as to build trust. Similarly, the report states that more should be done to facilitate investment in Angola, lower remittance costs and expand cross-border and domestic remittance services.

This IOM funded report was carried out in cooperation with the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Institute Providing Support to Angolan Communities Abroad and with the support the NGO Development Workshop.          


International Office of Migration (IOM)


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