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. 

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