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Cover image: The image on the cover is a segment of a painting by Sue Hoppe, an artist based in South Africa. Titled “Conflict Resolution,” the painting explores the idea that people who seem irreversibly divided and with little in common can unite if they focus on what they have in common instead of what divides them. Hoppe’s work examines war, conflict, and the plight of children and women in Africa, but

'Conflict Resolution' - Sue Hoppe (Report cover, detail)

Global Flow. Labour Migration a Remedy to Balance Demographic Decline, says World Bank

08.10.2015 As migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East continue to arrive in Europe in unprecedented numbers, a new World Bank/IMF report says that large-scale migration from poor countries to richer regions of the world will be a permanent feature of the global economy for decades to come as a result of major population shifts in countries.

The new Word Bank Report ('Global Monitoring Report 2015/2016') is confident that opportunities are provided by the global migration scenario for migrating individuals (ending poverty, dictatorship, illegal conditions) as well as receiving countries (young work force, demography, welfare balance, intergenerational contract).

'With the right set of policies, this era of demographic change can be an engine of economic growth,' said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. "If countries with aging populations can create a path for refugees and migrants to participate in the economy, everyone benefits, Most of the evidence suggests that migrants will work hard and contribute more in taxes than they consume in social services.'

Challenges are diverse as is admitted in the report. More than 90 percent of global poverty is concentrated in lower-income countries with young, fast-growing populations that can expect to see their working-age populations grow significantly. At the same time, more than three-quarters of global growth is generated in higher-income countries with much-lower fertility rates, fewer people of working age, and rising numbers of the elderly. This suggests that against prevailing public opinion not only are migrants longing for benefits and opportunities abroad but targeted countries themselves are in demand if not dependent on human capital inflows to fill the gaps.

Do we expect an accelerated 'bargain sale' of the developing worlds young high potentials? The World Bank is explaining risks but provides for an overall optimistic outlook: The report trusts that 'at country level, governments with young populations can maximize the benefits of demography by investing in health and education to maximize the skills and future job prospects of their youth.'

Another picture is provided for 'those countries with aging populations'. They 'should consolidate their economic gains by boosting productivity and strengthening social safety nets and other welfare systems to protect the elderly.' Reading this report, it seems hard to ignore that free flows of human capital are in the very interest of those countries who oppose it most.

Global Monitoring Report 2015/2016
Development Goals in an Era of Demographic Change
World Bank/IMF 2016

Martin Wolf
Head of Public Relations
Tel: +49 (0)203 379 5238