Assessing the Dynamics between Migration and Development in Africa

21 January 2020
02:00 - 03:30 hrs.,
, Egypt

The high-level panel session, “Assessing the Dynamics between Migration and Development in Africa in the Context of the Multilateral Trade and Development Agenda” will be held in the context of the International Forum on Migration Statistics.


Africa has embarked on a journey of transformational change: while the international media may be portraying a dismal picture of Africans as refugees fleeing the continent on boats, the reality on the continent is much different. Africa’s GDP growth was 4.0 percent in 2019 and is projected to rise to 4.1 percent in 2020. Furthermore, economic integration is progressing on the continent. The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in January 2018, is an important development milestone for the continent. With further alignment and improved coordination, the AfCFTA has the potential to foster the development of robust regional value chains, which could increase intra-African trade.

Reiterating the importance of the Free Movement Protocol, in 2017 the African Union (AU) initiated a symbolic act of Pan-Africanism with the launch of the AU passport aimed at facilitating the free movement of people on the continent.  With deeper regional integration and cooperation, African countries could improve their migration management by developing tools and capabilities to more effectively measure migration (including immigration into the continent from abroad) and diaspora engagement through trade.

Intra-African migration rose from 12.5 million in 2000 to 19.4 million in 2017, and accounts for 53% of African migration (UNCTAD, 2018). The search for employment and other economic opportunities is a key driver of intra-African migration. The Economic Development in Africa Report (EDAR) 2018 – Migration for Structural Transformation provides evidence on how intra-African migration can foster economic growth, and how it can improve wider livelihood opportunities for migrants, especially women. The report emphasizes the importance of better and more frequent data to improve information on migration patterns. Enhanced data quality can also lead to improved monitoring, evaluation and design of migration and labour market policies on the continent.

A lack of consistent data and information on migration, including on the number of migrants moving within the continent is a challenge for many African countries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This hinders a comprehensive assessment of migration patterns, and in turn limits the potential policy space for effective migration management and diaspora investment. 

The panel session aims to explore possibilities for greater multilateral cooperation in the collection of migration data. Such data plays a vital role in the design of policies and initiatives that may contribute to the acceleration of the potentially positive impacts of migration towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in both countries of origin and destination in Africa. High-level country representatives will share their national experiences and discuss the need for cooperation at the continental, as well as regional level in Africa.

The panel will address the following key questions:

  • How can the channels through which migration benefits Africa’s economic development be facilitated by better data?
  • How can institutional capacity for migration data management be strengthened in Africa?
  • How can multilateral cooperation be used to enhance the synergies between trade, migration and sustainable development?
  • Which cooperation measures for addressing challenges on linking migration and trade data in origin and destination countries can be implemented?

Target Audience

The panel will bring together high-level officials from various organizations working on migration, trade, economic development, including representatives from the African Union, African Regional Economic Communities, civil society organizations, the UN System, international development partners and academia.

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Mr. Junior Davis
Ms. Anja Slany