World: look South for opportunities

Maybe some Westerners feel their countries are largely cooked, but Angola and Brazil present fresh challenges.

A recent report from the BBC online alerted readers to the drift south to Brazil of migrant Americans seeking opportunities or challenges in a rapidly growing economy. The broadcaster says that according to the "Brazilian Labour Ministry, 7,550 American citizens were granted a work visa in Brazil in 2010, up from 5,590 the previous year and more than double the number in 2006."  Reasons are obvious, as the "US has been struggling to recover economic growth and unemployment is running at some 9%. By contrast, Brazil's economic performance in recent years has been strong - 7.55% in 2010. And that means demand for workers has been growing."

Now, The Economist notes Angola is experiencing a "role-reversal" with former colonial power Portugal, whose "foreign ministry says it registered 45,000 Portuguese citizens as resident in Angola in 2007-08. A year later the figure had jumped to 92,000."  Not so unsurprising, as Angola vies with Nigeria to be Africa's top crude oil producer.  Across the board Angola's economy has been growing at a simply staggering pace. The IMF calculates growth to hit 7.8% in 2011 and reach 10.5% during 2012.

As we know, other African and Latin American countries too are developing fast. Many Nigerian- and Ghanaian-Americans are relocating to Africa to take advantage of economic success and to assist in the rebuilding of their ancestral homelands.  There's political stability in Brazil, Ghana and Angola, however, but religious and economic tensions are exasperating Nigeria's leadership. Whether these "plastic" Nigerians (those who've been born and educated in the comfortable West) will choose to stick it out remains to be seen.

Of course, there's a continued drift northwards by aspirant workers from Central America to the US, or certain parts of West Africa to Europe. One only needs to witness the tide of economic migrants landing on Italian Mediterranian territory or Spanish-owned Canaries to appreciate that that migration pattern is is remains constant.

Yet, many professional and entrepreurial expatriate Latinos are venturing south to Argentina, Brazil, Chile or elsewhere, as rapidly as their African counterparts are moving across to Africa.

What's new is that Americans or Europeans with little or no experience of South America or Africa are venturing there because they imagine their skills can be better utilised. As the debt-laden US and Eurozone countries slowly go about fixing their economies, opportunities in the developing South are there for the taking. Will this phenomenon accelerate? 

Check out all commentaries here.

No comments:

Post a Comment