Authors: Presca Wanki (UNU-CRIS), Ilse Derluyn (UNU-CRIS) and Ine Lietaert (UNU-CRIS)
Published in: Societies
In Africa, international migration to the Global North is often interpreted as a means to achieve upward social mobility. This article highlights the importance of considering the socio-economic and political transformations that form migration aspirations, especially among African youths. Simultaneously, increasing restrictive migration regimes impacts the extent to which migrants can meet the clauses in the moral economy of migration in their origin communities. We focus on (Anglophone) Cameroon, where international migration is referred to as “bushfalling”. A person who migrates to a Western society desires or is expected to return home to share the wealth he/she has accumulated. This interpretation of migration forms different perspectives regarding migrants and guides expectations towards returned migrants. However, little is known on how these expectations are defined and redefined in the society of return. Based on focus group discussions conducted among local community members, we show that the expectations were guided by the visa regimes of destination countries. Moreover, successful returnees were defined by their ability to be visible and create an impact after return. Thus, this article contributes more broadly to an African perspective on the meaning and impact of return migration.
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