Towards an Inclusive Approach to Mixed Migration in West and North Africa

Towards an Inclusive Approach to Mixed Migration in West and North Africa

Aswan, Egypt – While the word “migration” is often used to encompass a wide variety of migrant profiles and statuses (regular, irregular), a better understanding of the motivations of migrants and the context surrounding the mobility of people on the move can help address their needs of protection and strengthen migration management.

To shed the light on this need, 14 experts and academics with in-depth and advanced understanding of migration flows in West and Northern Africa gathered together in Aswan, Egypt for a three-day high-level expert meeting convened by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Offices for West and Central Africa, and for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) from the 16th to 18th of June 2019.

Given the increasing diversity of people on the move and the various motivations pushing thousands to migrate within the regions and beyond, there is an urgent need to better understand migrants’ needs and vulnerabilities.

The discussions aimed to pave the way for a more inclusive approach to discuss the risks migrants are exposed to along the migratory routes. The meeting also invited participants to reflect on how to increase the efficiency of the services available to migrants in host and transit countries; and to improving joint migration strategies between West African states and North African states, in terms of policies affecting the region.

“The diverse and interconnected drivers of migration in our regions shape the nature of human mobility and are one of the major features of what we call ‘mixed migration’,” said Carmela Godeau, IOM Regional Director for MENA, in her opening remarks.

“While the public opinion and States tend to simplify the status of migrants as an indistinct mass of people moving towards Europe, the situation is much more complex than that” explains Sophie Nonnenmacher, Deputy Regional Director for IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa. “There is a real need to capture the profiles, the motivation and the context that make people move, who leave for work and who sometimes take risks, so we can better address their needs through support to Members’ States action and legislation”.

During the meeting, the participants presented the results from their research and recommended moving beyond the current rigid categorization of migrants to better encompass the diversity and complexity of such regional phenomena.

“I think there is a great added value in this kind of meeting that brings together experts from different countries with different specialties in different backgrounds,” said Curtis Bell, Director of Stable Seas, a programme specializing in maritime security and governance. 

A policy brief compiling the papers presented during the meeting and summarizing the recommendations will be published in the next months. IOM will then propose a road map based on these analyses, methodologies and emerging trends.

For more information, please contact :

  • Florence Kim, Spokesperson - Regional Media and Communications Officer, IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa at
  • Farah Abdul Sater, Regional Media and Public Information Officer, IOM Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa at