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

Author(s): 
Tony Mwenda Kamninga
Martin Phangaphanga, PhD
Winford Masanjala, PhD
Theme: 
Youth jobs, skills and entrepreneurship

The study examines the impact of skill acquisition on choice of destination and occupation for migrant youth in urban Malawi. This study uses primary data collected using a semi-structured questionnaire 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 and belonging to social groupings do not have a statistical 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 entrepreneurship due to convex returns to skills. Rather other factors; for instance unavailability of startup capital remain prohibitive. The study also shows that acquiring skills before migration and perceived entrepreneurial opportunities are significant correlates in the migrant’s decision to migrate to administrative but not commercial cities. Finally, the study also ascertains the role of information, expectations, family and social connections in the decision to migrate as well as to integrate in urban areas.