Migration Policy Institute - Africa (sub-Saharan)
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The number of people around the world forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution reached its highest total since World War II, with more than 51.2 million fleeing their country or displaced within it, the UN refugee agency reported in 2014. An estimated 13.6 million people have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq alone, constituting what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees dubbed a mega-crisis.
Fears regarding the spread of the deadly Ebola virus following an outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone prompted governments around the world to regulate travel from and within West Africa. Travel bans, airport health screenings, closed borders, and traveler quarantines were among the policies implemented. International organizations argue such restrictions drive possibly symptomatic travelers to illegally bypass borders and encourage dishonesty in the exit screening process.
From a massive typhoon in the Philippines last November to the ongoing civil war in Syria, recent global events demonstrate that natural disasters and political strife occur suddenly and often without warning. This article examines the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program that grants humanitarian relief to nationals of certain countries embroiled in violent conflict or recovering from natural disaster.
The humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Central African Republic (CAR) has received scant world attention, even as more than 20 percent of the population of 4.25 million has been displaced as a result of deadly sectarian violence. This article examines the causes of the violence, the international community response, and the impacts of large-scale displacement within the country and beyond its borders.
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff joined MPI’s Kathleen Newland for a discussion of UNHCR’s work, the Syrian refugee crisis, and the situation of IDPs and refugees from Somalia.
As hundreds of migrants were drowning in the Mediterranean, the United Nations General Assembly was hours from gathering for only the second time in its history to address international migration. The juxtaposition threw a question into sharp relief: does the world body have any impact on the world’s migrants?
Land is the basis of nearly all economic activities from farming to financial speculation on cotton production — in and along the periphery of an internationally protected park that spans parts of Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Recognized as the "W" Transboundary Biosphere Reserve in 2002, this vast territory and surrounding areas are experiencing a land-management crisis in which seasonal and long-term migration has played a major role. This article examines these challenges through the use of reflexive maps, which capture data relating not only to migrants' paths and motivations, but also the social values and knowledge that they carry with them.
This policy brief, which concludes a nine-brief series examining what is known about the linkages between migration and development, suggests that the policy framework on migration and development remains relatively weak, and few development agencies have made it a priority to promote the positive impact of international migration.
The Chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, along with the Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for International Migration discuss what is expected from The UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in October 2013 and what impact it may have on the Global Forum on Migration and Development.
Circular migration has typically been viewed with skepticism by migrant-rights advocates and wary publics alike. But many experts and policymakers in the migration field — and some in development — have come to recognize that well-managed circulation that is respectful of migrants' human and labor rights can bring benefits to countries of origin and destination, as well as to migrants themselves. For countries of origin, circular migration can relieve labor surpluses; for destination countries, it can provide the flexibility to quickly overcome skills shortages while adapting to long-term labor market shifts. For migrants, circular migration offers the opportunity to earn higher wages and gain international experience.
Private recruitment agencies orchestrate much of the migration process, from predeparture to return. They provide information, assistance, and even financial support to migrants; facilitate transit to and from the destination; and in some cases employ migrants directly. While recruitment agencies protect migrants, sometimes removing them from abusive workplaces or even organizing repatriation, migrants’ dependence on them for so many services also creates many opportunities for exploitation and abuse. This brief assesses the forms of regulation that are being proposed and enacted to oversee recruitment agencies and identifies several areas for further improvement.
Diasporas can play an important role in the economic development of their countries of origin or ancestry. Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, diasporas also can promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses, spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills. Policymakers increasingly recognize that an engaged diaspora can be an asset — or even a counterweight to the emigration of skilled and talented migrants.
Skilled migration is often thought to have overwhelmingly negative effects on countries of migrant origin. Yet recent research and policy experience challenge this assumption and offer a more nuanced picture, as this brief explains. Countries of origin and destination can in fact benefit from skilled migration when it is correctly structured, and efforts to restrict skilled nationals’ ability to leave their countries of origin may have unintended costs, in addition to being ethically problematic.
Economic turmoil has been a primary driver of emigration from The Gambia, located in West Africa and the smallest country on the African continent. Despite having a decades-old, extensive diaspora mainly in Spain, the United States, Nigeria, Senegal, and the United Kingdom, the Gambian government has only very recently begun to reach out to its citizens abroad. This article explores The Gambia's migration history, emigration and immigration trends, remittances, economic impacts of skilled emigration, and recent efforts by the government to reach out to The Gambian diaspora.
Although many observers point out that China's dealings in Africa are driven by natural resources, since the mid-2000s Beijing has also shown interest in Senegal, which does not sit on major deposits of oil, gold, diamonds, or timber. This West African nation — a strategic ally for China, a reliable partner in the area of development cooperation, and above all, a promising market for selling made-in-China goods — has a rapidly growing Chinese migrant community. This article explores the growing presence of Chinese traders in Dakar's Centenaire neighborhood, investigating their backgrounds and motives for migrating. It also discusses how the decision to migrate affects their families, hometowns, and the local community in Dakar.
This edited volume develops a pragmatic approach to the engagement of highly skilled members of the diaspora for the benefit of their countries of origin. The book, edited by a World Bank senior economist, is based on empirical work in middle-income and high-income economies.
The Tuareg, a nomadic group of Berber origin located in several countries across North and West Africa, have been enmeshed in a complicated struggle against the Malian state since January 2012. This article explores the unique role that migration plays in shaping Tuareg grievances in the context of this crisis.
Book release event for MPI's volume on the Children of Black Immigrants, covering topics of education, health, and demographics, with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy Ajay Chaudry; Gerald D. Jaynes, Yale University Departments of Economics and African-American Studies; chapter authors Dylan Patricia Conger and Kevin Thomas; and volume editors MPI's Randy Capps and Michael Fix.
The event discussion, which touched on the intersection of race and immigration, focused on the demographics of Black immigrants (both African and Caribbean) in the United States and their children, their educational success, and the implications of the recently released volume’s findings for research and public policy.
More than 465,800 Syrians were registered as refugees during 2012 or were awaiting assistance, and another 2 million Syrians were internally displaced as a result of the prolonged armed conflict. On the African continent, difficult humanitarian situations also were unfolding.