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An analysis of trends and patterns of migration in Africa


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An analysis of trends and patterns of migration in Africa

An analysis of trends and patterns of migration in Africa

7th November 2023


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The New South Institute has recently released a report titled “An analysis of trends and patterns of migration in Africa,” authored by Research Fellow Michael Mutava.

The report offers a detailed exploration of migration trends on the African continent. It categorizes Africa as a region of origin, transit, and destination for migrants and identifies economic factors as the main drivers behind these movements. The research also underscores the potential contributions of migration to economic development in both the countries of origin and destination, through the transfer of skills, knowledge, and remittances.


In 2020, African countries hosted 25.4-million international migrants, marking a 62% increase from 1990. Among these, 82% were intra-African migrants. The study also highlights that Africa’s population has grown by 113% since 1990, while the number of migrants in Africa has increased by 62%.

Labour migration is a key focus of the report, with data showing that 77% of Africa’s migrants were of working age in 2019 and participated in the labour force at a higher rate than natives. The majority of migrant workers find employment in the services sector and typically possess basic or less than basic education.


The report provides a more detailed analysis for three regional economic communities (ECOWAS, EAC, and SADC) and four countries: Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, and Kenya, as part of the Migration Governance Reform in Africa (MIGRA) research programme.

The complexity of migration in Africa is underscored in the report, emphasizing the need for effective policies to ensure the safety, orderliness, and benefit of migration for all parties involved. The study also points out gaps and challenges in existing labour data, such as the lack of cross-national harmonization and timely reporting.

We encourage readers to delve into the report and to learn more about the New South Institute’s ongoing efforts in the area of migration governance reform.

Report by the New South Institute


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