Working Papers

Movement of persons and migration in Africa: Considerations for African integration and the AfCFTA

Movement of persons and migration in Africa: Considerations for African integration and the AfCFTA

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28 Jun 2019

Author(s): Gavin van der Nest

The free movement of persons has an integral part to play in regional integration. Not only does it contribute to facilitating easier access to economic activities and opportunities, but it also has the potential to effectively and efficiently allocate human capital and knowledge where it is most needed.

This Working Paper offers insights into migration – in relation to economic development as well as the drivers of migration and movement – and the movement of persons in Africa, highlighting the integral role that the free movement of persons plays in regional integration. Not only does it contribute to facilitating easier access to economic activities and opportunities, but it also has the potential to effectively and efficiently allocate human capital and knowledge where it is most needed.

Regional agreements on the free movement of persons in Africa could be successful for several reasons. Most states within the region show similar levels of development (excepting perhaps South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Mauritius) which would make the transition to free movement less of a challenge. Additionally, most movement and migration of Africans is already confined to the region and therefore the next natural step would be in the legalization and control of movement. The paper explores the interface between the Protocol on the Free Movement of People and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The paper covers the role of migration in economic development as well as the drivers of migration and movement. The issue of migration to Europe from Africa, particularly its extent, reasons, and impact is also covered. A discussion aboutsensible incentives to control migration within the African development and integration agenda is developed, and finally, a comparative data study is undertaken to identify general trends in migration in Africa.


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