The Migration Experience in Africa

The Migration Experience in Africa

The Migration Experience in Africa

The Migration Experience in Africa


In this book the authors investigate the range of the migration experience in Africa. Because of the variety and complexity of the reasons which surround and underpin why African populations are so mobile, this volume adopts an eclectic approach which illustrates the diversity of theoretical positions, as well as methodological and analytical trends.

The book also provides examples of the great breadth and richness of empirical insights into human migrations in the contemporary African context. The contributions identify and address under-researched themes, such as gender and migration, and more generally point to lacunae in this important area of the development problematique.


In September 1991, a third conference under the auspices of the Urban Development in Rural Context in Africa research Programme at the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies (SIAS) was held in Kristiansand, Norway. The conference was entitled The dynamics of internal non-metropolitan migration and linkage in Africa.

The conference was an attempt to address a range of issues relating to nonmetropolitan migration flows and other types of linkages in Africa. All too often, the focus has been on migration to the primate and other very large cities in Africa. It was hoped that the conference would help redress this situation. Approaches which explored the myriad of links (urban-rural, ruralurban and rural-rural) and which would increase our understanding of underlying processes were sought. However, with such an important and exciting topic as migration, it was decided that a range of broader conceptual and theoretical themes was required, as well as chapters on regional migration dynamics, refugees, pastoralists and gender issues. Moreover, some chapters do have the small town as a main focus, reflecting one intention of the original conference.

Unlike previous conferences where a selection of papers presented were published as proceedings by SIAS, the majority of the chapters in this present volume represent invited contributions from experts in the field of migration.

The preparation and publication of this book involved the contributions of many people. We would like to especially acknowledge the efforts of the invited contributors who responded so willingly and promptly to our requests for chapters. We would also like to thank those conference participants whose papers are included in this volume for their patience in a preparatory and publication process which took longer than anticipated.

We would like to acknowledge the assistance of the many individuals who helped bring this book to fruition. Karl Eric Ericson, Sonja Johansson and Åsa Berglund of the Publishing Department provided invaluable advice on editorial matters. Håkan Gidlöf, documentalist at the Institute's library, was of great help in re-checking many references as well as tracking down some obscure ones. Kjerstin Andersson drew most of the maps. Christer Krokfors made a number of useful suggestions regarding the literature. Kent Eriksson and Inga-Lill Belin provided important logistical support. Annabelle Despard translated Samir Amin's chapter from French, and Caroline Malcolm translated Jean-Bernard Ouedraogo's chapter from French. Elaine Almén did a superb job in reading the chapters and making many insightful comments and suggestions which improved the volume stylistically. Ingrid Andersson, Assistant to the Urban Development in Rural Context in Africa programme, deserves special mention for her patience and efforts in correcting, typing and formatting the chapters. We would also like to acknowledge the assistance provided by Per H. Iversen, ably assisted by Inger Kristiansen and Gunn Egeland, of Agder College, Kristiansand, who had responsibility for making local arrangements for the original conference in September 1991.

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