African Perspectives on Migration and Migration Management

Start date: 21 March, 2016 End date: 11 May, 2016 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A29546 Countries: Ethiopia Institutions: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark Grant recipient: Maja Pedersen Total grant: 16,000 DKK



Migration has been referred to as the greatest global challenge of the 21st century. Yet, despite the transnational nature of contemporary international migration, the perspectives of northern migrant-receiving countries have overwhelmingly driven political and academic debates on migration. Little is known about how policymakers and governments of sending countries perceive migration and the challenges and opportunities arising from it. This thesis tries to redress the balance by placing the perspectives, interests, and concerns of African policy actors at the center of analysis. In this pursuit, this thesis is based on a qualitative methodological approach comprised of six qualitative interviews with influential African policy actors, advisors and migration experts involved in the African migration agenda. Moreover, participation in the African Development Week as well as informal meetings with various stakeholders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, throughout a 2-month fieldwork mission has contributed to the knowledge and findings of this thesis.
This study sets out to explore and understand African perspectives on migration and migration management, based on key themes identified: 1) how is the migration phenomenon perceived; 2) what is viewed as the challenges of managing migration in an African context; and 3) what are the African perspectives on migration relations with the EU and European states. Key findings show how demographic, ecological, geographic, political, and socio-cultural structures of Sub-Saharan Africa are crucial toward understanding underlying motivational forces behind African perspectives and policy considerations on international migration management. Moreover, the thesis illustrates how population movement is perceived as part of a larger cultural, socio-economic and political reality in Africa and how the challenges of state-capacity, geophysical obstacles, as well as political dynamics is found to expand well beyond discussions on political will and determination toward managing migration. The thesis concludes how Africa’s views on migration relations with the EU and European states revolve around feelings of mistrust, frustration, and skepticism. The overarching and persistent focus on a security-based logic of border protection and containment of irregular migration in Africa-Europe migration engagements, fuels the African doubts regarding the willingness of their European partners to fully commit to a genuine migration cooperation, which can address the longer-term challenges of Africa’s difficult experience; poverty, unemployment, conflict, and socio-economic insecurity.