International Migration and Regional Development in Morocco: A Review
Hein de Haas
Despite its status as one of the world's leading emigration countries, empirical work on Morocco has been largely absent from the lively theoretical debate on migration and development. The impact of international migration on development in Moroccan migrant-sending regions is assessed through a review of existing empirical studies. Notwithstanding empirical lacunae and methodological flaws, available evidence suggests that migration and remittances have considerably improved living conditions, income and education, and spurred economic activity through agricultural, real-estate and business investment, from which non-migrants indirectly profit. This has transformed migrant-sending regions such as the Rif, Souss and southern oases into relatively prosperous areas that now attract internal ‘reverse’ migrants. Although this challenges prevailing pessimism, the developmental potential of migration is not fully realised due to several structural constraints. Migration impacts are heterogeneous across space, socio-ethnic and gender groups, and tend to change over time and household migration cycles. Migration and remittances may enable people to retreat from, as much as to invest in, local economic activities, depending on the specific development context. Paradoxically, development in migrant-sending regions seems to be a prerequisite for return and investment, rather than a consequence of migration.