Receiving large numbers of refugees has a significant impact on human capital in the host country and especially on education and youth employment. This is the conclusion of a study entitled "The consequences for human capital of hosting refugees: Kagera case study", presented on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at the headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan by Maryam Naghsh Nejad of the Institute of Labour Economics (IZA), in Bonn, Germany.
Based on data obtained in Kagera, a Tanzanian region bordering Burundi and Rwanda, the study authors evaluated the short- and long-term impacts of the influx of refugees on the likelihood that children would be forced into child labour.
The study concludes that the intensity of migrant inflows lead to a drop in secondary enrolments in the short term, and an increase in family well-being over the long term.
Maryam Naghsh Nejad and co-author Charia Kofol, of the Center for Development Research, Bonn, explain that at Kagera, "the increase in food prices over time led to increased child labour in the agricultural sector."
21 million refugee children
"The political issue raised by this study is that in rural areas where children are more involved in agricultural work, microfinance programmes or government interventions to increase agricultural productivity are particularly relevant to preventing children being involved in work," say the two authors.
Between 1993 and 1998, nearly one million people fled Burundi and Rwanda under the scourge of the Burundi civil war of 1993 and the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
The large influx of refugees in some parts of Tanzania led to there being more migrants than there were hosts, leading to rivalry in access to the labour market and pressure on food and on health facilities.
Over the last decade, the number of refugees has grown considerably worldwide, reaching 244 million people in 2015, 165.3 million of whom were forced migrants and 21 million children.