AFRASO Lecture by Tesfaye Tafesse (Addis Ababa University): "Migration and Employment for Sustainable Development in Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of Africa"

15. December 2016
Goethe University, Campus Westend, Seminarhaus SH 0.105, 16.15h

Migration is a cross-cutting theme that is bound to occur in different forms and with complex consequences. Migration of people, minds and cultures has and continues to be the cornerstone of human civilization. African population has always been on the move. Pre-colonial migratory patterns occurred without barriers, borders or legal restraints, driven mainly by the availability of livelihood opportunities (no state boundaries). In the post-colonial period, migration has become a vehicle for economic betterment and an escape valve to overwhelming tensions caused by displacement, conflict, drought, unemployment, poverty, and resource deprivation.In an increasingly inter-connected and globalized world, neither privilege nor poverty can be contained within geographical borders or boundaries. The influx of African migrants involves a wide range of voluntary and forced trans-border movements within the continent as well as regular and irregular emigrations to destinations outside the continent. Of late, governments in Africa are beginning to acknowledge migration’s link to development and poverty reduction. It is stated that the potential benefits that are accrued from international migration within Africa are larger than the potential gains obtained from freer international trade. There is an emerging consensus that member states of RECs in Africa can cooperate to create triple wins: wins for migrants, wins for their countries of origin and wins for the societies that receive them. For countries of destination, labor migration can fill in important labor market needs in agriculture, construction, mining and other sectors, thus contributing to the economic development of the migrant-receiving countries in Africa. These advantages have compelled African governments to write labor migration policies and promulgate legislation that incorporate appropriate labor standards. This lecture has attempted to discuss the ways and means by which intra-regional migration and employment in Africa can be utilized towards poverty reduction and development in both the migrant-producing and receiving regions.

Tesfaye Tafesse (PhD) is Professor of Political and Social Geography at Addis Ababa University. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Osnabrück, Germany in 1995. He has authored four books, co-authored a book and published dozens of articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals. He has written widely on issues related to transboundary river basins with emphasis on the hydropolitics of the Nile River Basin; geopolitics; resource conflicts; environment-induced migration and population displacement and food security. He was Alexander von Humboldt post-doc fellow in Germany between 1999 and 2001 and taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1999 and the Universities of Bayreuth and Osnabrück in Germany in 2003 and 1997, respectively. Currently, he is serving as the Head of the Center for African and Oriental Studies at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.