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About this presentation

The effects of contemporary migration dynamics within and from Africa to Europe increasingly translate into cross border challenges facing the European Union. The socio-economic and political factors shaped by the processes of globalisation continue to generate different dimensions of migration in Africa. These dynamics have become major policy challenges in the management of migration and leveraging migration of development. Current policy initiatives are informed by top-down approaches that attach different opportunities and restrictions to them through categorisations such as irregular migrants, asylum seekers, failed asylum seekers, illegal migrants, skilled migrants, highly-skilled migrants, second generation and return migrants. However, these approaches do not take into account the agentic responsibility of African migrants and the communities that they have established in the respective destinations countries to manage themselves. Moreover, they fail to address return decisions and constraints to circularity as experienced by African migrants who may consider going back. Drawing on the experience of sub-Saharan African migrants in the Netherlands, this paper presents an alternative approach to the management of migration in the context of EU–Africa migration relations. It starts from the premise that the experiences and leadership of migrant communities in host countries are vital for a bottom-up driven approach to ‘managed migration’. Tapping into diaspora agency, structures of leadership, consultation and decision-making within the African communities provides new approaches to circular migration that translates into a triple-win situation.

About the seminar series - Migration to, through and from Africa: An ‘African’ conversation

Scholars of African descent have increasingly contributed to the growing body of knowledge on African migratory flows, even though Africans have often been depicted as ‘objects’ rather than ‘subjects’ of scholarly inquiry. In this seminar series, we ‘reverse the gaze’ by showcasing cutting edge research conducted by African scholars who examine migration to, through and from Africa.

From early career researchers to more established academics, the presenters in our series demonstrate the geographic diversity of African migration patterns by showcasing how Africans on the move are part and parcel of broader processes of social, political and economic development across the continent and beyond. In doing this, they prove that “Africans have always produced knowledge about their continent, even though their contributions have been ‘preferably unheard’ in some cases and ‘deliberately silenced’ in others” (Pailey, 2016).

The 2017 Hilary term seminar series is convened by Robtel Neajai Pailey and Marie Godin.

Download the seminar series poster


Duration 50:44