Local economic development and migrant remittances in rural Zimbabwe: building on sand or solid ground?
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The paper explores the impact of migrant remittances on local economic development in a locality where more than half of the households have been recipients for at least five years. The study has taken place in rural Zimbabwe and uses an ethnographic method devised for this research. The method was termed “follow the money” and consists of a scrutiny of several rounds of economic exchange of goods and services in the locality, starting when households receive the cash. Consistent with previous research, the study found that remittances boost the consumption of receiving households and have a limited but positive effect on non-receiving households. Part of the cash transfers are used for equipment and investment, mostly in traditional agricultural activities. This study highlights that remittances are responsible for the creation of a significant number of jobs locally, although insecure and low waged, and a small number of growth-oriented businesses, mostly by non-recipients and oriented to the local market. The study highlights the potential for government intervention to further enterprise development with the last group of entrepreneurs in order to localise the longer-term effects of remittances.
- study area
- non-receiving households