This edited volume provides comprehensive evidence on migration from and within West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean. It highlights migrants’ agency and contribution to transnational development, as well as the inequalities that shape migration and the risks that migrants are exposed to.

The volume is divided in four sections, dedicated to migration trends, risks, development and governance. The volume features contributions from different IOM offices, as well as from other international organisations, research institutions and civil society organisations.

It was prepared as part of the programme Safety, Support and Solutions on the Central Mediterranean Route, funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).

Download the full report here in English or French.



In the years 2014–2016, when arrivals of undocumented migrants and refugees arriving by sea to Europe surged to unprecedented numbers, a map of the north-west quarter of Africa made an appearance in European media. The map showed several lines,or arrows, spanning the Gulf of Guinea to the Mediterranean Sea some 4,000 km to the north. It sketched the land routes travelled by migrants and refugees from all corners of Africa to reach the Mediterranean Sea, from where they would embark to Europe. Two main routes were distinguished according to destination in Europe: the “Western Mediterranean Route” for Spain and the “Central Mediterranean Route” (CMR) for Italy or Malta.

Download the Introduction.

COVID-19 and migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean

In just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the global migration and mobility landscape, and added a layer of complexity to migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean. This rapidly spreading health crisis (Figure 1) has led to the implementation of mobility restrictions and border closures, as well as to the suspension of social and economic activities in most countries around the world, including in West and North Africa and Europe. While at the time of writing (end of July 2020) some governments were beginning to gradually lift these measures, public, research and policy attention was increasingly turning to the socioeconomic and political effects that these may have in the medium and longer term. As the crisis is still unfolding, these effects remain difficult to predict. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) foresees that the pandemic will lead to the worst global recession of the past century, and that the gross domestic product of sub-Saharan Africa will fall by 3.2 per cent in 2020 (IMF, 2020). Others have pointed to the longer-term consequences that the pandemic may have for domestic politics, international relations and trust in governments (Perthes, 2020), including in Africa (Devermont, 2020).



Chapter 1: Migration measurement along the Central Mediterranean Route: sources of data

This chapter inventories the state of knowledge on international migration from, to and through each of the 12 countries of the Central Mediterranean Route (CMR), with a focus on the last two decades. What national statistics tell us  bout numbers and profiles of international migrants in West Africa and the Maghreb, whether they are bound for Europe or not, is its core question. Migration data in North and West Africa primarily come from population censuses. Censuses provide a relatively detailed picture of immigrant and, in some cases, emigrant stocks, but little or nothing on migrant flows. Moreover, they hardly contain any information about the legal status of migrants, their working and living conditions, strategies, needs and vulnerabilities. Key findings emerge from this review: Maghreb countries are mainly migrant senders, with Europe as an overwhelming destination. Libya, which remains a destination and transit country, is an exception. By contrast, West African States are at the same time migrant senders and receivers, with a salient pattern of intraregional circular migration. Côte d’Ivoire stands out as a magnet for labour migrants originating from the whole of West Africa and beyond. Key recommendations include efforts to further develop administrative sources of data, which are the only means to continuously monitor migratory movements as well as migrants’ characteristics, and the continuation of operational data collection systems, such as the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism initiative (4Mi), to inform about the circulation of people and their lived situations.

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Chapter 2: Focus on operational data: the International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, and the Mixed Migration Centre’s Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism initiative

This chapter aims to answer the questions: (a) Why do we need to measure migration? and (b) What should we expect from good data on migration? It analyses two data collection tools in detail: IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and the Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism initiative (4Mi). First, it describes and compares both tools. Both have made available to the public considerable information on mobility in countries where there was little or no previous knowledge about the topic. It thereafter focuses on DTM and combines different series of data. Two sorts of combinations are tested: data of the same nature obtained at different dates, and data of different nature obtained at the same date. It concludes by giving recommendations on how to further DTM’s data collection efforts.

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Chapter 3: Facebook advertising data in Africa

This chapter presents a descriptive analysis of migration-related data from Facebook’s Advertising Platform for the African continent. It provides an estimate of the raw number of migrants in Africa, and a disaggregation by country of origin and by sex. According to the data, the total number of “migrants” – Facebook users who “live abroad” in Africa, regardless of the country of origin – is 10.4 million. Analysis hints at the potential value of the data, while also illustrating challenges for any cross-national work, due to the strong heterogeneity of Facebook use. Digital trace data offer an opportunity for migration studies in low- and middle-income country contexts, and can be used to complement rather than replace traditional data sources.

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Chapter 4: Trends and evolving arrival patterns through the Central and Western Mediterranean Routes

This chapter provides a descriptive analysis of migrant and refugee arrival trends in Italy and Spain from January 2018 to June 2019. The chapter explores major monthly trends in arrivals in 2018 and the first half of 2019, and indications of potential rerouting between the Central Mediterranean Route and Western Mediterranean Route for certain nationalities. The key findings are: 

(a) From 2018 to the first half of 2019, the Western Mediterranean Route was more active than the CMR, with a higher number of arrivals to Spain than to Italy in most months; 
(b) Simultaneously with a significant decrease in arrivals in both Italy and Spain in the observation period, possible rerouting from the CMR to the Western Mediterranean Route was observed among certain nationalities over time, such as among Guinean and Malian migrants and refugees; 
(c) From the start of 2017 to August 2019, over 90 per cent of migration flows in West and Central Africa were intraregional or within the same country

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Chapter 5: Migration in Libya post-2016: recently arrived migrants and migrants who have been in Libya for at least one year

This chapter explores differences and similarities between migrants who have recently arrived in Libya and those who have been there for at least one year, along the dimensions of labour migration, employment, intentions, remittances, access to services,humanitarian needs and vulnerabilities, based on International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Libya’s Flow Monitoring and Mobility Tracking data. Although migration to Libya for both groups is primarily driven by economic motivations, available data gathered through thematic humanitarian needs modules of DTM Libya’s Flow Monitoring Survey (FMS) indicate that more recently arrived migrants showed higher vulnerability levels across several indicators, while those who have been in country for more than one year report higher employment rates and remittances. At the same time, both are negatively impacted by structural problems, such as Libya’s severely constrained health system, limited access to public services, and cross-cutting protection risks related to irregular migration and the protracted conflict in Libya. Labour migration policies and programmes as part of comprehensive migration management are a critical need, affecting both recently arrived migrants and those who have been staying in Libya for extended periods.

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Chapter 6: Overview of migration trends and patterns in the Republic of the Niger, 2016–2019

This chapter provides an overview of migration trends and patterns in the Niger from January 2016 to December 2019. Migration trends shifted drastically after the implementation of the 2015-36 Law, which criminalized irregular migration. Migration routes became more fragmented and outgoing flows towards Libya decreased significantly from 2017 onwards. The profiles of migrants also changed, with fewer foreign nationalities migrating through the Niger and people from the Niger increasingly migrating to Algeria, in addition to Libya. A key trend emerging in 2018 and 2019 was the significant increase in flows to the Niger from Algeria as a result of the strict enforcement of immigration laws in Algeria, leading to the expulsion and repatriation of migrants to and through the Niger.

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Chapter 7: Migration aspirations in West and North Africa: what do we know about how they translate into migration flows to Europe?

Aspiring migrants from Africa are less likely than other migrants to migrate to their preferred international migration destinations. This chapter explores migration aspirations and intentions, and actual migration of citizens of 18 North and West African countries, paying particular attention to migration to Europe. Drawing on a combination of statistics from the Gallup World Poll, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Eurostat, Frontex and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, it provides evidence for the discrepancy between the number of people intending to migrate to Europe and actual regular and irregular migration flows. It does so by exploring regional differences and drawing on theoretical frameworks on migration aspirations and (cap)abilities.

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Chapter 8: Using big data to estimate migration “push factors” from Africa

This chapter explores the use of big data to estimate monthly country-level “push factors” of asylum-related migration. It also looks at whether estimates of push factors in countries of origin correlate with traditional data on irregular migration on the CentralMediterranean Route and asylum applications lodged in Italy. The frequency of negative and disruptive events in individual countries was aggregated into a composite Push Factor Index, which strongly correlates with applications for asylum in Europe in 2016 and 2017. However, following the effective closure of the Central Mediterranean Route in 2018 and 2019, this correlation was no longer apparent, showing that the explanatory power of the Push Factor Index is dependent on enabling factors.

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Chapter 9: Using big data to estimate migration “push factors” from Africa

This chapter explores the links between modern migration and long-standing transhumance movements in Mauritania. In the country, livestock farmers have for a long time practiced internal and cross-border transhumance, to optimize access to water and pasture. This has allowed them to cope with harsh environmental conditions. However, in recent decades, transhumance has been affected by challenges such as climate change and violent conflicts. As a result, livestock farmers have abandoned it and are instead migrating to the urban centres. Mauritania’s economic hubs are also magnets for regional migrants, mostly from other West African countries. This chapter draws on data collected through IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix

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Chapter 10: Transhumance Tracking Tool – a regional perspective of mobility in West Africa

IOM’s Transhumance Tracking Tool is composed of two data collection mechanisms. The first is a “flow registry”, a data collection tool used in the location of key seasonal transhumant movements. The second is an early warning system, a localized alert system that uses large networks of existing key informants to share and receive information related to transhumance events.

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Chapter 11: Challenges on migration routes within West and Central Africa

This chapter examines the challenges that migrants face while travelling within West and Central Africa on those routes intersecting with the Central Mediterranean Routes to Europe, and the risk factors that make them vulnerable. The findings show that the most frequently reported challenges were financial issues, hunger or thirst, and no shelter. Aggravating factors were: (a) lack of formal education (42–61%); (b) being divorced or widowed (55%); (c) leaving home country due to war, conflict, violence, persecution, or to gain access to services (60–63%); (d) intention to travel within West and Central Africa (41%); and (e) long journeys (53%). Finally, salient similarities were identified in the risk factors predicting challenges in West and Central Africa, with the risk factors predicting incidents indicating abuse, exploitation and human trafficking for migrants in Europe.

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Chapter 12: “No one talks about what it’s really like” – risks faced by migrants in the Sahara Desert

This chapter explores the risks that migrants face when crossing the Sahara Desert. While data sources on the experiences of migrants in the Sahara are scarce, this analysis relies on data from IOM and the Mixed Migration Centre. The chapter finds that trans-Saharan migration poses risks, both inherent to the desert and human-caused. The risks posed by the inhospitable terrain of the desert are complicated and exacerbated by instability and violence in the region, harmful smuggling practices and the securitization of borders in the Sahel. More data are needed to adequately understand the experiences of migrants in the Sahara Desert, so that effective policy and programming responses can combat the many risks. Potential migrants need better access to information about the risks of the Sahara crossing to make informed and safe choices.

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Chapter 13: 

Overview of migrants in vulnerable situations assisted in the transit centres, the Niger

This chapter provides an overview of the main vulnerabilities and risks faced by migrants assisted in the IOM transit centres in the Niger en route back to their countries of origin, and of changes to such risks observed over the past three years. These are also presented through migrants’ personal stories. The clear pattern that emerges is an overrepresentation of certain nationalities and demographics among unaccompanied migrant children and victims of trafficking. The chapter recommends the utilization of an evidencebased approach in aligning programming with the main patterns observed among migrants in vulnerable situations, particularly victims of trafficking.

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Chapter 14: 

What makes refugees and migrants vulnerable to protection incidents in Libya? A microlevel study on the determinants of vulnerability

The protection abuses and human rights violations faced by refugees and migrants along the journey to Libya and within the country are well documented by NGOs, human rights organizations and news outlets. Yet, little is understood about why certain people on the move are exposed to protection abuses, and the specific factors influencing their vulnerability. This chapter analyzes a unique dataset of more than 5,000 interviews with people on the move who have reached Libya from countries across the continent and attempts to analyze the demographic, social, and economic determinants of vulnerability to protection incidents.

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Chapter 15: Vulnerability to exploitation and abuse along the Mediterranean migration routes to Italy

This chapter investigates whether migrants using different routes to reach Italy have different characteristics and what individual risk factors and aggravating contextual factors are associated with higher or lower vulnerability of migrants to a selected set of experiences of abuse, violence and exploitation that might amount to human trafficking. The chapter is based on IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix Flow Monitoring Surveys, conducted with approximately 12,000 migrants aged 14 years or older, who arrived in Italy through different migration routes across the Mediterranean from 2016 to 2018. The results show that age and sex affect the probability of experiencing abuse and exploitation, with younger and male respondents being more vulnerable to direct experiences of unpaid or forced work and of being held against their will.

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Chapter 16: Over troubled waters: maritime rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean Route

In this chapter, we investigate the shifting role played by Italian and European security forces, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy (LCGN) in the conduct of search and rescue (SAR) and border enforcement operations in the Central Mediterranean corridor connecting Libya to Malta and Italy. By doing so, we explore the relationship between the evolution of SAR operations, the number of irregular migrant departures from Libya and fatalities at sea. Our findings suggest that SAR operations conducted by European authorities and NGOs have played an important role in reducing the deadliness of sea crossings without significantly contributing to incentivizing irregular migration.

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Chapter 17: Migration and risks: smuggling networks and dynamics on the Central Mediterranean Route

This chapter seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the profiles and network characteristics of smugglers, how they support or facilitate people’s journeys, as well as the role they play in protection incidents experienced by people on the move. The data analysed originate from the Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism initiative (4Mi) of the Mixed Migration Centre across North and West Africa. Some of the main findings are: (a) more than two thirds of the migrants surveyed in Libya and half of those in West Africa reported using smugglers on their journeys to/out of Libya; (b) in North Africa, smugglers were cited as the main providers of support (53.6%), and in West Africa they were the second most cited providers (23.5%); however, (c) smugglers are often cited as perpetrators of physical abuse, particularly in North Africa.

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Chapter 18: Migrant smuggling in the Libyan context: re-examining the evidence

This chapter examines the interactions between migrants and the facilitators of their journeys. It argues that European Union-centric concerns over irregular migration that attribute smuggling to organized criminal networks alone have led to simplistic views of mobility facilitation processes in Libya and beyond. The findings show that people behind migrants’ journeys are most often men, women and children from marginalized and
impoverished communities, who have historically relied on the provision of mobility and transportation services to generate income, and they do so to achieve their own mobility and/or migratory goals and to reduce the impact of poverty and disenfranchisement. Yet stricter border controls and migration enforcement efforts, coupled with the shortage of legal, safe and dignified paths for mobility, have led to the emergence of unequal, abusive and violent interactions between migrants and facilitators.

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Chapter 19: Irregular migration and vulnerability of Ivorian women returnees

This chapter describes the migration journey of Ivorian female returnees assisted by IOM, from the time they start preparing for the trip until their return to Côte d’Ivoire. It draws on a participatory study conducted in 2018 and 2019 in Côte d´Ivoire, during which a mixed qualitative and quantitative methodology was adopted. It finds that – whereas broader female migration can be beneficial for the women themselves, their circles and society – women returnees experience additional challenges. In their case, migration has tended to reinforce their economic precarity and psychosocial vulnerability. The various forms of exploitation they suffered en route, the fact that they left their children behind, and the stigma attached to their return without having fulfilled their migration ambitions, are all elements that can make long-term economic and social reintegration more complex.

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Chapter 20: Health information management in the context of forced migration in Europe

This chapter provides an overview of health data among migrants on the Central Mediterranean Route, using a case-based approach. It outlines how data are currently collected and what are the strengths and weaknesses of these health information systems. Examples from Libya, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and a transnational electronic health record system show the variety of systems in place. Current health information systems that capture migrant health are very heterogenous, often not harmonized and sometimes time-limited. As a result, information on migrant health is limited. Better recording of migration-relevant information in routine systems, access of migrants to routine care and collection of their data, as well as harmonization of variables and systems, are needed to inform public health policy and health-care delivery.

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Chapter 21: Migration Across West Africa: development-related aspects

This chapter investigates the linkages between migration and development in West Africa. The Economic Community of West African States Protocol relating to Free Movement of Persons, Residence and Establishment of 1979 aims at promoting development through the free movement of persons, goods and services. Since its implementation, the region has witnessed increasing labour migration due to infrastructural development, increasing production of cash crops, the development of the mining sectors, and oil discovery. Contemporary migration trends, including the feminization of migration and transnationalism, contribute to development across West Africa. With the effective implementation of migration policy frameworks, developmental benefits – such as brain circulation, investment in different sectors of the home countries’ economies and remittances – can be maximized.

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Chapter 22: Senegalese migratory strategies: adapting to changing socioeconomic conditions in the long term

This chapter analyses the reasons given by Senegalese migrants for their decisions to emigrate, through personal life histories. It is based on the author’s research since 2003 on the migrant networks formed through what he calls “multi-sited villages”, social units comprising both the inhabitants of a rural site and the members of their families living in different places. The reasons for leaving are mostly linked to essentially economic contextual factors: financial considerations, the rural exodus, a slump in urban areas and educational aspirations.

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Chapter 23: The development impact of “gold rushes” in Mali and Burkina Faso: the multifaceted effects of migration on artisanal gold mining sites

This chapter analyses migration to small-scale gold mining sites in Mali and Burkina Faso. It investigates the extent to which these promote development in communities of destination, and examines migrants’ profiles and reasons to migrate. It finds that gold miming sites draw considerable flows of internal and cross-border migrants, which have intensified in the past 10 years. Whereas artisanal gold mining  previously attracted temporary migrants, it now appears to have established itself as an economic activity leading to long-term settlement on the sites. Artisanal gold mining promotes economic development, attracts secondary migration through new businesses and services, and represents an alternative to agriculture, absorbing youth unemployment and providing an alternative to migration to cities for young people.

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Chapter 24: Labour migration dynamics in Libya

Libya has historically been a major destination country for foreign workers from across sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, who have significantly contributed to the local economy. This analysis provides an overview of the evidence regarding the integration of migrants in the Libyan labour market and its impact on economic outcomes for migrant and Libyan communities alike. It does so by drawing on preliminary findings from dedicated labour market studies on migrant workers and employers conducted by IOM in 2019–2020. This chapter includes recommendations that have emerged from these studies to increase labour market participation of migrants and Libyans alike, and to contribute to overall socioeconomic and cultural growth. It concludes with some of the latest policy developments in the country, and a discussion of the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including on the labour market.

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Chapter 25: What are the future climate scenarios in North and West Africa?

This contribution shows how North and West Africa are highly exposed to climate change and threatened by extreme heat, food and water shortages. These climatic factors, in combination with other political and socioeconomic factors, will add pressure in the future to African economies and livelihoods, and may affect migration flows, often internal and to urban areas, as already observed.

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Chapter 26: Migration induced by climate change and environmental degradation in the Central Mediterranean Route

This chapter investigates the role of climate and environmental factors in driving migration in countries on the Central Mediterranean Route. It uses a literature review to frame the complexity of these linkages, including how climate influences conflict and how conflict drives migration. Land degradation, land tenure insecurity and lack of rainfall are major drivers of environment-induced migration, and land fertility and productivity are key “pull” factors. These results indicate that the European narrative framing migration on the Central Mediterranean Route as primarily “economic” often overlooks key factors, such as climate and environmental drivers of migration. Understanding of the changing climate and environment should be expanded, and initiatives to create income opportunities through land and ecosystem restoration – such as the IOM Initiative on Sustainability, Stability and Security described in the chapter – should be supported.

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Chapter 27: Towards the successful reintegration of returned migrants: IOM Niger’s trainings for migrants in transit

This chapter examines the impact of various forms of return on migrants, their families and communities in Senegal, in particular in terms of resilience and/or development. It focuses on spontaneous and independent return, on voluntary return (taking place with IOM support), and on forced return (expulsion). It draws on data collected through individual and group interviews with returning migrants. Results show that migrants who return voluntarily tend to evoke an idyllic image of migration, whereas migrants who were forced to return tend to experience disillusion. Some migrants use money and experience gained abroad to become entrepreneurs; they promote the image of returnees as an asset. However, given Senegal’s migratory tradition, migration journeys are considered positive even when returnees come home “empty-handed”.

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Chapter 28: Returning migrants: from disillusion to integration initiatives in the South-East, North and Central regions of Senegal

This chapter examines the impact of various forms of return on migrants, their families and communities in Senegal, in particular in terms of resilience and/or development. It focuses on spontaneous and independent return, on voluntary return (taking place with IOM support), and on forced return (expulsion). It draws on data collected through individual and group interviews with returning migrants. Results show that migrants who return voluntarily tend to evoke an idyllic image of migration, whereas migrants who were forced to return tend to experience disillusion. Some migrants use money and experience gained abroad to become entrepreneurs; they promote the image of returnees as an asset. However, given Senegal’s migratory tradition, migration journeys are considered positive even when returnees come home “empty-handed”.

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Chapter 29: Operationalizing an Integrated Approach to Reintegration (ORION)

The ORION project aims to provide the tools necessary to operationalize an integrated approach to reintegration. It has conducted pilot tests through specific interventions in Guinea, Senegal and Morocco. The project has four key elements: a reintegration handbook, a mentoring approach, a comparative analysis, and a cross-regional workshop.

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Chapter 30: Free movement policies and border controls: regional migration governance systems in West and North Africa and Europe, and their interactions

Most States in West and North Africa and in Europe are part of free movement areas. The trend towards lifting intraregional border controls has, however, unfolded in parallel with a trend towards tightening external border controls. This chapter analyses how the two trends have shaped regional and transregional migration governance in West and North Africa and in Europe. It first looks at regional policy structures in West and North Africa, then analyses how these are integrated in wider continental trends and how they interact with free movement policies in Europe. The chapter draws on an analysis of policies of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) and the European Union. It finds that, even though free movement policies were adopted quite early in ECOWAS and the European Union, and have been discussed for a long time within AMU and the African Union, their implementation remains challenging, due to political and socioeconomic differences between member States, to different migration-related interests and to growing interregional dependencies.

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Chapter 31: 

The collateral damage of the war on smugglers along the Central Mediterranean Route

This contribution describes how migrant smuggling along the Central Mediterranean Route has transformed in the past half decade. Available data demonstrate that migratory flows along the Route have considerably shrunk in comparison with the levels seen in 2014– 2017. It remains questionable, though, whether the demand for smuggling services has also decreased. Available ethnographic evidence suggests that the prospect of northbound migration remains attractive for many sub-Saharan Africans. The rise of the entry barrier into the market of irregular crossings has stimulated the criminal organization of irregular migration. Trends recently detected in the region point to the progressive conversion of smuggling activities into thriving trafficking businesses, involving the exploitation of migrants and asylum seekers, and the trade of narcotic drugs.

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Chapter 32: Migration governance in North and West Africa: national policy frameworks

This chapter addresses two core questions: (a) How does international migration impact national frameworks of rights and duties?; (b) What policies do States develop to deal with their expatriate nationals and the entry and stay of foreign nationals? Section 32.2 reviews legislation on nationality and the various ways it has evolved in response to ground realities created by emigration and immigration. Section 32.3 describes States’ strategies to make their nationals abroad a resource for the development of their countries of origin, notably through remittances and investment. Section 32.4 is on States’ efforts to organize their national communities abroad, and connect them to various aspects of their homelands’ lives, while protecting them in the foreign countries where they reside. Section 32.5 deals with the reception of foreign nationals and focuses on irregular migration and its growing criminalization in countries along the Central Mediterranean Route. A common pattern emerges in North and West Africa, by which States recognize international migrants as citizens of the countries they come from more than full members of the ones where they actually live.

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Chapter 33: 

Diaspora and development policies in the Economic Community of West African States

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its Member States are increasingly adopting policies and measures aiming at maximizing possible benefits of migration for development. This chapter analyses how ECOWAS Member States engage with their diasporas. It draws on an analysis of United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS and national policies, strategies and regulations on migration, diaspora and development. It finds that in ECOWAS Member States, policy attention to migration and the diaspora is recent, but rapidly increasing. Diaspora-related measures are integrated in the migration policies and strategies that have been/are being developed since 2014 in 14 out of 15 countries. In some cases, diaspora policies were adopted before wider migration policies. Whereas 13 out of 15 States mention diasporans as development actors, they define their possible contributions to development differently. They all mention financial transfers, whereas fewer States mention migrants’ skills and knowledge transfers, political influence transfers and benefits of diaspora political engagement. Diaspora institutions have been created in 13 countries, in 8 cases with a ministerial status. However, a scarcity of data on diasporas hinders effective policymaking.

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Chapter 34: Diffusion and practice of external voting in North and West Africa

This chapter discusses the diffusion of external voting in North and West Africa since the early 1990s, and diaspora participation in elections in countries of origin. It starts by examining the idea that the spread of external voting is attributable solely to the emergence of diaspora policies and political liberalization processes. It then looks at the influence of citizens abroad on elections by analysing their turnout and political preferences.

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Chapter 35: Public opinion on immigration in North and West Africa: an exploration of the available evidence

This chapter explores a range of factors shaping attitudes towards immigrants in 18 countries in West and North Africa based on results from the Gallup World Poll survey. In particular, it looks at the relationship between public opinion on immigration and (a) individuals’ perceptions of their countries’ economy and labour market, (b) their perceptions of the quality and availability of public goods and services, and (c) their trust in institutions such as the police and government.

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Chapter 36: Balancing migration narratives through programming and media reporting in North Africa

This chapter explores a range of factors shaping attitudes towards immigrants in 18 countries in West and North Africa based on results from the Gallup World Poll survey. In particular, it looks at the relationship between public opinion on immigration and (a) individuals’ perceptions of their countries’ economy and labour market, (b) their perceptions of the quality and availability of public goods and services, and (c) their trust in institutions such as the police and government. These have all been identified as important factors affecting public opinion on immigration in the literature.

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Chapter 37: Returning migrants: from disillusion to integration initiatives in the South-East, North and Central regions of Senegal

Information campaigns are not a new policy tool, but only in recent years has evidence slowly caught up with implementation in the field of migration. This chapter outlines the learnings of three comprehensive studies completed by the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre on the impact and effectiveness of information campaigns on the risks of irregular migration. Some of the lessons so far include: (a) there is a clear need and demand for more and better information relating to migration among potential (irregular) migrants; (b) participating in awareness-raising events can have clear effects on potential migrants’ risk perceptions and intentions to migrate irregularly; (c) the cost advantage of online activities versus offline events is likely to be exaggerated; (d) campaign goals and effect sizes vary which highlights the need for discussion among implementers, researchers and donors about what success means for campaigns. Lastly, the chapter outlines a research agenda to tackle the many questions that remain.

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Chapter 38: Importance of data-driven responses along the Central and Western Mediterranean Routes

The field of mixed migration demands evidence-based programming. However, given the hidden, cross-border and mobile nature of mixed migration, gathering accurate data in this field is particularly challenging. This chapter builds on the experiences and lessons learned by the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and the Mixed Migration Centre’s (MMC) Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism initiative (4Mi) during their data collection and analysis exercises carried out in the context of monitoring mixed migration across the Central and Western Mediterranean Routes. It elaborates on the ways in which the collected data have been used to inform internal programming of the organizations and, to the extent possible, of external actors. The chapter will also discuss how uses of the data can be improved by suggesting practical measures at different stages of the data management, information-sharing and coordination.

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