By Frank Kweronda
One noticeable issue in the society today is the rate at which people (including youths and adults) migrate from the rural to the urban areas. Like a paradox, while the cities (urban areas) are increasing in population, the rural areas are decreasing.
One of the factors that is responsible for rural-urban migration is lack of inadequate social amenities and facilities in the rural areas. These include piped water, electricity, good roads, health facilities, schools and sometimes laxity by the people in rural areas to engage in productive activities.
Inadequate jobs in the rural areas also make many youths to migrate to the urban areas that can provide better opportunities for them, for example, “boda boda riders”.
Rural-urban migration has negative consequences. It leads to overpopulation of the urban areas thus encouraging crime in the society. Those who engage in crime prefer the urban areas being turgid with wealthy individuals.
Globally, the nexus between migration and development has remained an issue under vigorous debates. For migration to take place either something is chasing the individuals away from their present location or there is an attraction to where they are going to and one of the major forms of migration that tends to create problems in all developing countries is that of rural-urban migration.
Therefore, the process of people migrating to other areas in search of a better life is not a novel one. What has, however, gained currency is the increasing voluntary movement in quest of better quality of life by low-skill and low-wage workers as well as high-skill and high-wage workers from less developed rural areas to more developed urban areas in our country.
In this regard, rural-urban migration results from the search for perceived or real opportunities as a consequence of rural-urban inequality in wealth.
This inequality and/or urban bias in development, according to research findings over the years, results from the overwhelming concentration of wealth, assets, purchasing capacity, economic activities, and variety of services in the urban centres as well as the continued neglect and degradation of rural environments.
Migration has also been identified as a survival strategy utilised by the poor, especially the rural dwellers. The assessment of the effects of migration on rural areas has remained relevant since migration acts as a catalyst in the transformation process of not only the destiny of individual migrants but also the conditions of family members left behind, local communities, and the wider sending regions.
In cases where rural-urban migrants send remittances to their relatives or execute some various rural developmental projects in places of origin, this may not be seen as enough intervention to develop rural areas.
The Government may have to come in and encourage people in rural areas to practice projects like commercialised agriculture and farming, improve on transport and communication network, provide social amenities such as water, electricity and good roads, develop infrastructural by constructing modern schools and hospitals, sensitise people regarding the effects of rural urban migration and how they can develop themselves in villages, Provide credit facilities in rural areas to enable easy accessibility on finance and other good economic policies that can attract people to rural area in order to reverse rural urban migration.
This will also improve on the status of living and welfare of these people hence reduced rural-urban migration.
A combination of these rural community projects executed by the people living in these rural areas serve as indicators for future development. It is from these projects and their success that reflect the level of socioeconomic development that can be traceable hence reducing on the rural-urban migration.
Since we recognise that this form of migration is a major problem, solutions have to be provided in order to prevent the occurrence of over population at the receiving regions.
Rural-urban migration slows down the rate of development of the rural areas. In view of the negative consequences, the Government should strive to provide social amenities and facilities in the rural areas and also provide jobs for the citizens in the rural areas.
A common belief is that improved conditions in the rural areas will reduce rural-urban migration. The solutions to the problems of rural-Urban migration are with the planners.
The writer is a civil engineer