Driving factors of West African migration

Promoting good governance rather than economic development could be even more effective in providing West Africans with the hope that they can live fulfilling lives in their own countries of origin. This was a key message from the SWAC/OECD webinar, “Identifying the factors driving West African migration”, which took place on 27 September. The online debate looked at the findings in a recent West Africa Paper. Some 90 participants from across West Africa, Europe and North America, including many partner institutions, participated in the debate. The key note presentation was delivered by Jessica Anderson from the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. She highlighted some key drivers of migration in West Africa, notably the lack of trust in democratic institutions and police services. Panel remarks were made by Nelly Robin, from the French Institute for Development (IRD) and Claudia Natali, from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Participants also highlighted the importance of recognising the growing threat of climate change in influencing the decisions of migrants to flee and understanding the different motivations between urban and rural migrants. Developing research on migration to better explain drivers behind the decisions of aspiring migrants will be essential for addressing future migration patterns. Importantly, a balanced mix of policy responses by governments and development stakeholders is critical in resolving this complex regional challenge.