The impact of skill acquistion on choice of occupation and destination for migrant youths in Malawi
24 September 2020

The study examines the impact of skill acquisition on choice of destination and occupation for migrant youth in Malawi. This study uses primary data collected under the Youth, Employment and Migration for East and Southern Africa (YEMESA) project. Drawing from multinomial logit and Probit models, the study finds that having technical skills before migrating has a statistical significant effect on migrating to long-established administrative cities with stable markets compared to new and expanding commercial cities. Further, technical skills do not have a statistically significant effect on being an entrepreneur but they increase the conditional probability of being employed for wage. Therefore, evidence from this study does not support the premise that in a rural developing economy like Malawi, technical ability can propel migration decision to a more pro-entrepreneurship destination due to convex returns to skills. Rather, lack of start-up capital remain key and prohibitive in entrepreneurship. The study also shows that women are more likely to be in wage employment than in entrepreneurship indicating that entrepreneurship bottlenecks are more severe among women and thus suggesting a need of women’s financial inclusion. Finally, the study also ascertains the role of information and expectations in the decision to migrate.

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Authors: Tony Mwenda Kamninga , Martin Phangaphanga and Winford Henderson Masanjala

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