Capitalism and Sub-Saharan African Human Capital

Yeboah, Ian E. A.
Taylor & Francis Group
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Journal Title: 
African Identities
African Identities, Volume 16, Number 1, May 2018, pp. 67-86

This paper situates Sub-Saharan African migration to the global core, especially the United States, within a historical-structuralist framework and in the process connects migration from the region to global capitalism in a political economy. It considers mechanisms adopted in exploiting the region's human capital in three regimes of accumulation under capitalist expansion: slavery, colonialism, and globalization. The paper uses both the historical record and empirical data from American Community Survey in analyses. It concludes that recent migration from the region is a continuation of the historic exploitative relationship between the global core and Sub-Saharan Africa. By connecting African human capital utilization to global capitalism, the findings of this paper emphasize the continued need to consider migration as part of the broader postcolonial project. The policy implication of these findings for the region is that countries need to focus on economic development, rather than focusing solely on the role of remittances, brain drain and gain, and migration policy to the detriment of development policy. The paper also argues that core country policies to the migration crisis depend upon whether conservative/nationalists, neoliberal or humanist perspectives prevail in these countries.

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CITATION: Yeboah, Ian E. A.. Capitalism and Sub-Saharan African Human Capital . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , . African Identities, Volume 16, Number 1, May 2018, pp. 67-86 - Available at:

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