Masters or Migrants? The New Portuguese Migration to Angola and Cape Verde

Researchers: Lisa Åkesson, Maria Eriksson Baaz and Pétur Waldorff
Started in 2014

For the first time in African postcolonial history, citizens of a former European colonial power are seeking improved conditions in the ex-colonies on a massive scale. Until recently people from the former Portuguese African colonies have moved to Portugal in search of economic and personal security, but in the last five years migration has been reversed. The Portuguese who leave for the former colonies - in particular Angola- are often motivated by the economic growth in these countries in combination with the crisis in Portugal. One indicator of this is, for example, found in the fact that remittances from Angola to Portugal have surpassed remittances transferred in the reverse direction exponentially. In contrast to other economic migrants, these migrants’ need to secure an income in combination with a symbolic power based in their national postcolonial identity.

The research aims to explore how the Luso-African postcolonial heritage interplays with the recent Portuguese-African migration in the construction of new identities, and how these identities inform the roles played by the Portuguese migrants in relation to the development taking place in their African countries of destination. The research discusses questions concerning these migrants’ identities, their integration into the African societies and their contribution to social and economic development. It explores how this new migration challenges postcolonial power relations and how it informs the mutual constitution of Portuguese, and Angolan and Cape Verdean identities.

The project is being funded by the Swedish Research Council.

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