Panel 38

Contemporary patterns and future of migration in central and Southern Africa: Drivers, markets and governance

Panel organiser: Gabriel Tati, Department of statistics and Population Studies, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.


Central and Southern are two regions known for not making considerable inroads into the advancement of the free movement of people across borders in spite of the political commitment to regional integration. The intra-regional migration of people remains politically constrained, even if the central region of Africa nascent measures have initiated very recently to facilitate such a migration. In spite of persistent barriers, the movements of people across the borders have always been a prominent feature of nation-state building within the regions. The migration of workers to South African mines has for several years obscured the other nine countries in the southern African region. In central Africa, migration to countries in Europe, especially the former colonial masters, has traditionally received a great deal of attention. From an intra-regional migration point of view, very little has been empirically established on its diverse patterns, particularly in more recent years. Against this background of insufficient information, new data have been coming to the fore to highlight the extent to which migration connects countries within and beyond each region. The migratory connections inform on the drivers and the role of markets and governance in shaping migration patterns. It is a certainty that migration remains, and will continue to do so, a dominant vector of structural changes in the social fabric and economic path of countries in these two regions. The panel addresses new emerging perspectives on the migratory patterns and trends that are likely to dominate in these two important regions of the African continent.  Migration is apprehended through its dimensions of voluntary and involuntary (forced). The papers in the panel interrogate the extent to which migration is driven by a mix of forces-demographic dividend, feminisation, entrepreneurial passion and social investment. The panel looks at the sectoral markets (informal and formal) into which migrants are incorporated in the host societies.  The process of incorporation is negotiated according to the institutions managing migration. These may operate either at the macro or meso-level. Hence, the forms of governance are also discussed in the panel.

Call for contributions:

The panel invites research-derived contributions that help understand the changing patterns of migration, their drivers and their connections with the markets and the intra-regional governance regimes of people mobility in Southern Africa and Central Africa. Contributions could be made in the format of a detailed abstract (500 words maximum) outlining the research questions, the methods and data, the results, the discussion and the implications for managing migration and mobility. In line with the official geographical scopes, Southern Africa comprises of the countries which have membership in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). As for the Central Africa, the countries constituting the Economic Community of Central African States (or those with membership in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa) are considered.  Contributions could either focus on specific countries as case studies or adopt a cross-country comparative framework. 

Approved abstracts panel 38

Session 1

1. International migration in the Southern African region: a system approach to analysing drivers and their relations with markets and policies

Author: Gabriel Tati & Pamela Wendy James, Department of Statistics and Population Studies, University of the Western Cape, ssouth Africa.

The Southern Africa generally comprises of the following countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, and Mauritius. Beyond some common features (migration of proximity, circulatory migration, influxes and repatriation of refugees), one of the question arising is whether this sub-regional grouping constitutes a homogenous migratory system or is made up of several nation-based migratory system within the Africa continent. The answer suggested by historical and contemporary data at hand is incontestably on the one hand a juxtaposition of systems centred around the nation formation and on the other hand a regional system driven by South by South Africa which attractiveness is expanding over the rest of the continent.  The study aims to analyse the changing patterns of international migration within the Southern African Region. Topics surrounding migration are rapidly gaining importance, especially in the context of regional integration. Past research works have placed a major interest on South African immigration neglecting or rather paying less attention to the migration within other countries in the Southern African region. This study will include all the migration trends across the countries in Southern Africa while discussing both historical and contemporary migration trends within Southern Africa. The study interrogates the extent to which countries are sending countries exclusively or are receiving countries exclusively or both. There has been a transition in the inflows and outflows of migration in Southern Africa. In the analysis the study also highlights changes in the demographic compositions of migrants, changes in their destinations and changes in their countries of origin. In the study the following questions are investigated: What are the emerging migration systems within the Southern African region? What are the dominant migration linkages within the Southern African region? How do countries compare with one another in terms of being the attraction of migrants or supply of migrants within the region compared to the rest of the world? The study makes the assumption that there are different migration systems among the countries in the Southern African region. Secondly, there are countries that are more attractive to migrants within the region than migrants outside of the region. Also, there are more migrants from Africa in each of the Southern African countries than from the rest of the world.

2. Immigration and "informal" trade in Libreville: gender dynamics and trajectories

Author: Annie Beka Beka, High Training School of Libreville, Gabon & Anne Marilyse Kouadio, High Training School of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The study of migration in Gabon is difficult to carry out because of the scarcity of statistical data and studies with national and regional coverage on the phenomenon. Migration studies have often been conducted on the basis of limited census data (Loutete-Dangui and Libali, 2007). Even if the elements related to the current place of birth and residence of the populations, their duration of residence are summoned there, extremely rare are the census data which make possible the study of the characteristics of the places of residence, the migration routes of the populations, different mobilities related to the economic activities carried out, important in the migration analyzes.

In the last census of 2013, about 30% of immigrants (INSG, 2013), were registered in Gabon, mostly of African origin. This is probably Gabon, the main immigration country of Central Africa, largely due to the porosity of its borders. Migration is presented rightly or wrongly as a factor of economic and even social and regional integration through the brewing and the various dynamics created by the populations. Migrants who arrive in a host community contribute to its production and its economic growth, but also to its socio-demographic dynamics, sometimes not very profitable in the starting environment. On the other hand, these migrants, through the transfer of goods and funds to their home environment, contribute to its economy and the survival of many families who stayed behind. The verification of these rules is based on our interest in this contribution, which aims to analyze the drivers and connections of intra-African migration to Gabon with informal commercial markets. The omnipresence of migrants in informal activities in Libreville structured around gender and space challenges us. Our objective is to analyze the economic and social contribution generated by this type of trade in the development of the city of Libreville. Our central question is: Does informal trade participate in the development of the city of Libreville? This question involves others: What are the components and actors involved in informal commercial activity in Libreville? According to which routes do immigrants integrate the market? Do socio-demographic dynamics in Libreville do not imply the immigrant populations, who for a long time remained "invisible figures" in the system of analysis of the integration process in Libreville?

To answer these questions, the combination of social science research methods, especially the qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews) and the quantitative ones (questionnaire survey), will enable us to identify the different components of informal trade and its sex-specific actors. , analyze the trajectories of immigrants and the spatial structuring of their activities.

Keywords: Gabon – Libreville – immigration – economic and regional integration - informal trade.

3. Contemporary Forms and Perspectives on Migration in the Regional Integration of Central Africa

Author: Germain Ngoie Tshibambe, Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social, Political and Administrative Sciences, University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Human landscape in the Central Africa’s region is complex. Within boundaries and across boundaries human mobility creates and recreates political, social and cultural configurations which are as such challenges States are bound to face. From the case of the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, political instability pushes population to run from areas of conflict and to raise the challenge of refugees. This fact renders this region one among the most war-torn spaces. Beyond this forced migration form, we find also the voluntary migration. Voluntary migration is the most dynamic and needs to be governed –let us use the term ‘governanced’ in order to make this region ‘a space of peace and of development’. It needs to notice that after the phase of States being alone to manage migration according to a ‘nationalistic’ perspective, there is then a ‘regional and community phase’ which gives importance to RECs that become to be involved in migration management. The first perspective is prone to control, to deter migration whereas the latter perspective is the one pleading for a free movement of people. Anyway, this region has many international organizations among which we can consider three: the Economic Community of Central Africa’s States (ECCAS) with ten states; the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC) with three countries, and the Economic and Monetary Community of the Central Africa with six countries. At this level, this paper aims at grasping the dynamic sustaining migration trends in this region having a view on understanding the drivers of this migration; secondly at analyzing the actions and reactions undertaken through the Regional Economic Communities in so far as these RECs come to be bound to envision a regional response to tackle migration issues. Data for this paper come from field research undertaken in the context of a research commissioned by the ACP-UE Migration Observatory in 2014 and updated data gathered through documentary research.  

4. Structural Changes in the Participation of African Migrants in the Labour Force of South Africa (2001 – 2011)

Author: Yamkela Majikijela, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

Migration is not a recent phenomenon; it is one of the three factors that contribute to the population changes. Cross-border migration between South Africa and its neighbouring countries started in the mid-19th century. The aim of this paper is to explore the structural changes in the participation of African migrants in the labour force of South Africa from 2001 to 2011. Furthermore, the specific objective is to demonstrate the structural changes between the two periods in the deployment of African immigrants in terms of occupation, employment sector, income groups just to name a few. 2001 and 2011 population census are used to evaluate the extent to which the situation has changed between the two periods. As far as African migration is concerned, to capture the structural changes during the ten-year period (2001 to 2011) this study focuses on variables such as demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. To profile the structural changes in the participation of African migrants, this study makes use of the 2001 and 2011 national population census data. Furthermore, statistical packages are used to test the relationship between variables. Policy document about migration are also used to provide the legislated framework with regards to the involvement of foreign labour in the South African labour force. The geographical scope of the study is national meaning it covers all nine provinces of South Africa.

Keywords: African migration; educational status; employment status; labour force; labour migrants

Session 2

1. The role of immigrant organisations in shaping survival and integration of African immigrants in the city of Cape Town, South Africa

Author: Denys Uwimpuhwe, University of Lay Adventists of Kigali, Rwanda.

This paper develops an understanding of the mediating role played by Cape Town’s African foreign immigrant organisations by looking at the profile, character and roles of immigrant associations. We hope to learn more about immigrants’ survival strategies as well as possible paths to integration of African immigrants. Shifting the focus away from questions such as why South Africans are xenophobic, my findings were that immigrant organisations have activities and sub-organisations that promote members’ security concerns, ‘advocacy’ with government institutions and they are engaged ‘skills transfer initiatives’, teaching South Africans how to run a small business for free and religious activities. Another key finding is that Home Affairs Department is regarded as the biggest hurdle for immigrants. My findings draw on extensive interviews with leaders and members of immigrant organisations in Cape Town.

2. EU cooperation and migration policy development in West-Africa

Authors: Ilke Adam, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium & Leonie Jegen, United Nations University - CRIS & Christof  Roos, Flensburg University, Germany & Florian Trauner, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.

European policy-makers have, since the early 2000s, increasingly turned to cooperation with so-called migrant-sending and transit countries as the policy of choice for migration management (Boswell 2003; Lavenex 2006). Scholars have scrutinised implementation of respective instruments in the external dimension of the EU’s and member-states’ migration policy, id est  readmission agreements (Apedoju et al, 2009; Cassarino, 2007, …), ‘mobility partnerships’ (Reslow and Vink, 2015), informal ‘regional consultative processes’ on migration (Thouez and Channac, 2006), cooperation on return through memoranda of understanding, and police cooperation among others (Cassarino, 2010; El Quadim 2014). However, this growing body of research focuses very little, or only indirectly, on the perspective and agency of migrant-sending countries in the Global South and the impact of the EU cooperation schemes on migrant-sending countries. This paper tries to address this double research gap by showing how EU migration cooperation impacts differently on the regulation of migration in two West-African countries, Ghana and Senegal.  The paper explains the differentiated impact by the varying degrees of politicization of migration within Ghana and Senegal, the different postcolonial ties and divergent interests of both countries in the internal regulation of migration.

3. Immigration of students from Central Africa in Ivory- Coast in an era of internationalisation of higher education

Auhtors: Anne Marilyse Kouadio, High Training School of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire & Annie Beka Beka, High Training School of Libreville, Gabon.

African universities are mobilizing considerable resources in the operating budgets of their states to improve the quality of training. However, those in West and Central Africa are struggling to position themselves among the top 100 universities on the continent, as do those in North, East and Central Africa, faring well ( Intelligent of Abidjan, Saturday, May 14, 2013; Saturday, February 24, 2018). At the same time, Europe is mobilizing considerable resources to stop irregular immigration, but is setting up a competition to attract the best brains and cope with the aging of the population, offering them the comfort of life and work. In this attractive context, some students prefer to move within the continent for their training sometimes paradoxically far from universities and great schools such as those of Côte d'Ivoire. This article focuses on the international mobility of students from three Central African countries (Cameroon, Gabon and DRC) to Côte d'Ivoire. Based in particular on a combination of social science research methods, especially qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews) and quantitative methods (questionnaire survey), coupled with bibliographic data, we will be able to analyze the factors that contribute to generating intentions of departure: family networks in Côte d'Ivoire, the degree of advancement of studies, the reasons for departure, the favorable attitude of the family, etc. Contrary to a widespread image in the media and political debates of developing countries, the migratory intentions are not emotional, but appear to be thoughtful and proactive. Students are relatively well informed and their migratory intentions, mostly temporary, are based on a weighing of interests regarding their education and professional experience. The article argues accordingly for a better articulation between mobility policies and South-South interuniversity cooperation, which can enhance the university potential of the different host countries of students.

Keywords: Central Africa - Ivory Coast - university education - mobility - globalization of knowledge.

4. African female migrants in informal hairdressing industry and the challenges they face in the city of Cape Town (South Africa)

Author: Zizipho Gobile, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa.

Migration has been an increasing phenomenon globally and with it came the rise of independent female migrants. Female migrants are faced with a plethora of issues and challenges as they try to survive and make a living in a new country. Informal hairdressing in South Africa is a large sector and is largely occupied by female migrants from different African countries. This paper investigates the challenges faced by African female migrants who work in the informal hairdressing industry, in Cape Town; South Africa. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Knowing that informal hairdressing businesses offer female migrants opportunities to provide for themselves and their children or family; I ask the question: what challenges come with being in the informal hairdressing industry and being a female migrant in South Africa? The study was conducted using survey of respondents who were conveniently sampled, in the province of Western Cape; taking Cape Town CBD, Parow, and Bellville as cities of observation. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse the data. The results showed that challenges faced by hairdressers in the informal sector include; strained relationships with children and family due to long working hours, fearing xenophobic attacks from South African nationals, not having a fixed income, language barriers between hairdresser and clients, and lack of support from the government. This paper also serves to inform South African citizens that migrants are not here to steal their jobs but are only trying to survive and overcome whatever led them to vacate their home countries. And also shed light on the sector and its challenges on the female migrants to get the government to come up with ways to alleviate some of the issues faced by these women in any way they can.

Keywords: Hairdressing, Informal industry, Female migration, Entrepreneurship, Agency, Xenophobia

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