International migration, social change and local governance in Ourossogui and Louga, two small urban centres in Senegal
International migration has long been an important feature of Senegalese society, and migrants’ remittances play a significant role in the livelihoods of rural households and the growth of small and intermediate urban centres. Investment in housing and land, household consumption and small businesses contribute to the diversification of economic activities in a context where local financial capacity is extremely limited. A powerful emerging interest group which in many cases contributes to public infrastructure and sets up development projects, migrants are nevertheless by and large marginalised from local government institutions. This paper describes the impacts of migrants’ investments in two small urban centres, Louga and Ourossogui, located in areas with high rates of international migration, how these transform social relations and the implications for local governance systems.