Decoding Migration Governance in Africa: Key Takeaways from NSI’s Online Seminar

The New South Institute’s recent online seminar, “Migration Trends and Possibilities in Africa“, held on November 20, 2023, was a significant gathering in the field of migration governance. The seminar was a part of the NSI’s Migration Governance Reform Project (MIGRA), focusing on the complexities and nuances of migration within Africa.

Ivor Chipkin facilitated the event, setting the tone by highlighting the innovative approach of the MIGRA project. He specifically addressed the common misconception about African migration, which is often assumed to be primarily directed towards Europe, whereas it predominantly occurs within the continent. This introduction paved the way for a deep exploration of the subject by the speakers.

Alan Hirsch, leading the MIGRA project, delved into the core objectives of the initiative. His presentation was a comprehensive analysis of migration governance, addressing the challenges in the Free Movement of Persons Protocol and acknowledging unilateral progress by nations such as Kenya and Rwanda. Hirsch’s exploration into the multifaceted aspects of migration governance, including infrastructure, income levels, and cultural exchanges, provided a holistic view of the subject. The significance of governance in migration and the need for independent research in this area were underscored as vital components of understanding migration trends.

Michael Mulei Mutava presented the main findings of the report “An analysis of trends and patterns of migration in Africa“, which was launched by the NSI in November, challenging common misconceptions and emphasizing the intra-regional nature of this movement. His data-driven approach, based on UN sources, offered a fresh perspective on the economic and educational aspects of migrants and contributed significantly to debunking myths about predominantly illegal migration from Africa.

The seminar also featured insights from guest experts Tsion Tadesse Abebe and Diego Iturralde. Ms. Tsion highlighted the importance of bilateral agreements and sub-regional arrangements in facilitating mobility, pointing out the need to focus on education systems in the context of labor mobility. Mr. Diego Iturralde, bringing in his expertise in demography and population statistics, emphasized the importance of clear definitions in migration statistics and the impact of migration at the local level, particularly focusing on internal migration dynamics and labor migration.

The event concluded with a panel discussion, where Alan Hirsch and Michael Mutava responded to queries about the complexities of migration management. The final remarks emphasized the necessity of research and practical approaches in migration governance.

This seminar, part of NSI’s commitment to fostering informed discourse in public policy, provided a comprehensive view of the governance of migration in Africa. It underlined the need for a nuanced understanding of migration trends, policy development, and research in this complex field. The New South Institute looks forward to contributing further to this vital topic through upcoming reports and studies.

The presentations by Alan Hirsch (here) and Michael Mutava (here) can be accessed through the provided links for those interested in exploring these insights in more depth.

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