Panel 2

Exploring the causes and consequences of irregular migration in contemporary Africa

Panel organisers: Adebusuyi Isaac Adeniran, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Shanta Balgobind Singh, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Durban, South Africa.


Across varying epochs, the movement of individuals within and beyond distinct cultural and geographical entities has continued to be one of the most resounding platforms for depicting human interconnectedness. However, contemporary manifestations of such practice in the likeness of irregular mobilities /migrations by Africans, within Africa and beyond the shores of Africa, calls for an in-depth scrutiny. Apparently, the growing trend of irregular human movements across all regional groupings in Africa is directly linkable to the failure of particular political leaderships to expand the limits of socio-economic opportunities. For instance, the unwholesome introduction of ‘structural adjustment programs’ (SAPs) by various governments in sub-Saharan Africa during the mid-1980s had, thenceforth, implied a remarkable escalation in the volume of irregular movement of Africans towards Europe via the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, it should be noted that most migrations of Africans have continued to occur at respective sub-regional levels relative to trans-continental pattern. A good reference is the case of the ‘Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS), whose free movement protocol has tended to make cross-border movements within the sub-region seamless. Engaging the ‘theory of transnational social field’, this panel will seek to analyze specific causes and consequences of irregular migrations in contemporary Africa. Besides economic consideration, what are the other non-monetary/symbolic determinants of emergent patterns of irregular mobility/migration in Africa? What have been the impacts of budding migratory trends on the receiving societies (for instance, in terms of identity integration and multiculturalism) and the sending society (for instance, in measure of capacity building in the productive and in the service sectors)? These and related inquiries will be given adequate space in the panel. We therefore invite papers that analyze the determinants, patterns and outcomes of irregular migrations in contemporary Africa; from both participatory and empirical backgrounds. 

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