CIGI Papers, June, 2007
The issue of brain drain as a result of South-North migration has been a preoccupation for developing countries around the world and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states in particular. In recent years, the debate has moved beyond brain drain to speculate on the development prospects of brain circulation through return migration. Also on the current agenda are the prospects for economic development through remittances and the engagement of diaspora communities. This paper examines the evolution of the debate and key issues with particular attention to the implications for small, developing states within CARICOM. Of particular importance is the conclusion that remittances alone are not sufficient for economic development and are, in fact, a reverse subsidy to wealthier countries. However, through domestic reforms and international advocacy and cooperation it may be possible to improve the development returns of highly skilled emigration.
In the last twenty years, the Commonwealth Caribbean has moved toward a new technocratic model of development which has sought to reposition the region within the global economy. This paper examines three key policy agendas that have emerged to drive, guide and inform this process: competitiveness, diplomacy and governance. In each case the paper first provides an overview of the main issues, setting the particular circumstances of the Commonwealth Caribbean within wider global developments. It then examines the current "state of play" in each area, highlighting progress made and problems encountered. The last part discusses policy issues in each area, identifying both key concerns in current policy and urgent policy questions that still remain to be resolved. The paper concludes that real progress can be made only if the Commonwealth Caribbean adopts the "functional equivalent" at the regional level of the kind of "development state" that was so successful in East Asia. This will involve restructuring CARICOM to become more innovative, proactive and directive than has been the case to date.