Speaker: ‘Return, Reintegration and Remigration of African Migrants in ‘Post-Crisis’ Contexts: Lessons for Policy and Practice’, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa and the University of Wits’ African Centre for Migration and Society ‘International Conference on Migration: Southern Perspectives on Migration: Addressing Knowledge Production, Policies and Cooperation’, Theme 6 on ‘Mobility and Social Transformation’ (September 6, 2018), Johannesburg, South Africa.
ABSTRACT: Crisis, defined for the purpose of this paper as armed conflict, impacts African migrants differently depending on a wide range of factors such as the economic stability and geo-political positioning of the origin or host country, the high-profile (or low-profile) nature of the crisis and resulting external responses, the socio-economic status of migrants, their relationships with non-migrant populations and with the origin or host state, as well as migrants’ “preparedness” and “resource mobilisation” (Cassarino, 2004). African migrants may respond to crises by staying put, returning to their countries of origin or re-migrating elsewhere depending on the opportunity structures available.
Situating ‘post-crisis’ return as part and parcel of the crisis cycle, this paper argues that socio-economic embeddedness in countries of origin is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for sustainable and successful return of African migrants impacted by crisis in destination countries. It argues that transnational linkages, national, regional, and multilateral policies and practices play a role in facilitating return and reintegration as well as encouraging remigration to countries affected by crises or elsewhere. Lessons are drawn from empirical data collected for the European Union-funded Migrants in Countries in Crisis research component examining crises in Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, and Central African Republic, amongst other case studies.