E.g., 08/09/2020
E.g., 08/09/2020

Africa (sub-Saharan)

Africa (sub-Saharan)

Sub-Saharan Africans migrate to North Africa, Europe, North America, and beyond. The research offered here focuses generally on two aspects of sub-Saharan migration: the outcomes for these migrants and their children once they have settled in their countries of destination, the United States among them, and the roles that diasporas and development policies can play in the economic improvement of these African nations.

Recent Activity

Books
October 2016
By Kathleen Newland, Elizabeth Collett, Kate Hooper, and Sarah Flamm
Reports
September 2016
By Christopher Horwood and Kate Hooper
Articles
Articles

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Reports
September 2011
By Kathleen Newland
Reports
June 2011
By Randy Capps, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix
Reports
November 2010
By Kathleen Newland
Reports
October 2010
By Kathleen Newland
Reports
September 2010
By Kathleen Newland, Aaron Terrazas, and Roberto Munster
Reports
September 2010
By Kathleen Newland and Carylanna Taylor

Pages

South Sudanese refugee girl

Millions of displaced people were unable to return home in 2017, and countless others found themselves newly displaced. Targeted violence in Myanmar caused more than 624,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and conflict in South Sudan drove at least 668,000 abroad. Some first-asylum countries, such as Uganda and Turkey, were largely accommodating, while others, such as Jordan and Lebanon, pressured refugees to leave.

Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.

South Sudanese child

Nearly 4 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes by violence or food insecurity since late 2013, roughly half seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Drought and conflict have converged in the young country to fuel one of the world's most severe humanitarian emergencies. This article examines refugee flows from South Sudan, underlying drivers, and regional and international responses to the crisis.

A woman sells West African clothing at a market in Washington, DC.

The population of sub-Saharan African immigrants in the United States has grown rapidly in recent decades, from 130,000 in 1980 to 1.7 million in 2015. The current flow of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa consists of skilled professionals, individuals seeking reunification with relatives, and refugees from war-torn countries. This article provides the latest data on immigrants from the region in the United States.

In recent years, Switzerland has become a popular destination for highly skilled migrants, including from the Senegambia region of West Africa. Meanwhile, migration also flows the opposite way with Swiss migrants heading to Senegal and The Gambia. This article compares and contrasts the experiences of these migrants at destination as well as their motivations to migrate and attitudes toward remittances and citizenship.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Climate-related displacement is not hypothetical: An average of 21.5 million people per year have been displaced since 2008 by natural disasters, and thousands more have fled slow-onset environmental hazards. While migration can serve as a safety valve to adapt to changing conditions, few orderly, legal channels exist for climate migrants (also known as environmental migrants), as this article explores.

Articles

With global displacement at a post-World War II high, the international community made some advances on refugee protection in 2016, but there were also steps backward. The United Nations held the first-ever refugee summit and some countries, including the United States and Canada, increased their resettlement commitments. Meanwhile, conflict intensified in some hotspots and publics turned against refugees, as this Top 10 article explores. 

Articles

In stark contrast to a Europe that is erecting new barriers and reinstituting border controls, other regions around the world are moving toward greater mobility for intraregional travelers and migrants. Regional blocs in South America and Southeast Asia have been working to ease intraregional movements of workers, and the African Union in 2016 launched a new biometric African passport.

Books
October, 2016

With maritime migration the subject of significant policy and public focus in Europe, Australia, and beyond, this timely volume reviews the policy responses to irregular maritime arrivals at regional, national, and international levels. The book includes case studies of the major global hotspots—the Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden, Bay of Bengal/Andaman Sea, Australia, and the Caribbean—and examines trends and policy responses.

Video, Audio
September 28, 2016

Back from a recent trip to the region, Human Rights Watch researchers discuss the situation of refugees at the Dadaab camp in Kenya and findings from on-the-ground interviews, along with recommendations for the Kenyan government and international community. 

Reports
September 2016

Even in a region characterized by mobility, Eritrean refugees stand out for the frequency and distance of their onward movement. With more than 411,000 Eritreans in refugee-like situations, this report outlines how they access protection, the routes they take, and how their high rates of mobility challenge traditional concepts of refugees as static populations and raise questions about how to provide effective protection.

Articles

Kenyan migration to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been on the rise over the last few decades, spurred by rising unemployment and instability in Kenya combined with the GCC region's economic growth and proximity. While both sending and origin countries benefit economically from this new migration, it presents significant challenges for these governments, particularly in the area of labor rights, as this feature article explores. 

Articles

One of the least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has experienced significant migration outflows and inflows tied to political and economic crises in recent decades. While most Congolese migrants head to neighboring countries, destinations have diversified, with an uptick in those leaving for opportunities in Europe and beyond. This country profile explores historical and contemporary patterns of migration to and from DR Congo.

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