Page 39 - University of Pretoria RESEARCH REVIEW 2016
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Migration, especially of Africans and people from the Middle East attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, has received widespread media coverage in the past few years.
The common narrative is that migrants, the majority of whom are young people of working age, are escaping poverty in their countries of origin for a better life in Europe. But the drivers and factors that motivate people to migrate may actually be more complex.
Dr Christopher Changwe Nshimbi, DST-NRF Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) in the Department of Political Sciences, has teamed up with researchers at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and of the University of the Sahel, Senegal. Their three-year research project covers the major regions of Africa, in the North, the Sahel, West, South, and the Horn of Africa, and is generating perspectives and data on migration from affected communities. Key questions include identifying what constitutes the source, and what are the transit routes and destinations within and out of the continent, in
order to inform long-term approaches to addressing migration.
Despite the publicity around large-scale migrations
of Africans to Europe, Africa remains the continent most affected by migration and forced displacement: it deals with higher numbers of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) than other regions, because high levels of migration occur within the continent.
Related to this large-scale project, Dr Nshimbi is also conducting research into the little understood but largely criminalised phenomena of undocumented migration and informal cross-border trade. In June 2015, the member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) established the COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite free trade area (TFTA),
to enhance the integration of these regions and the respective 26 countries of the TFTA. In view of this,
Dr Nshimbi’s project, spanning a five-year period, investigates the activities of informal cross-border traders and migrants. Informal (ethnic) entrepreneurs, local non-state actors, relevant officials from local, provincial and national governments, as well as relevant officials from COMESA, EAC and SADC inform the research while special attention is paid to persons living in the borderlands of the countries that form the tripartite region.
Dr Nshimbi has also, since July 2016, been part of
an international Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) project team, commissioned by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
of the United Nations, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the Friedrich- Ebert-Stiftung (FES, Geneva), to undertake an impact assessment of the African Union’s planned continental free trade area (CFTA). Dr Nshimbi is responsible for the case study on informal cross-border traders. The full report is due for release in mid-2017.
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