Migration Data in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

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Migration to and from countries in Southern Africa1 is driven largely by the pursuit of economic opportunities, political instability and increasingly, environmental hazards. In a region with an estimated population of 363.2 million people and 6.4 million international migrants at mid-year 2020  (UN DESA, 2020), a few countries serve as the economic pillars of the region. Industrial developments, the mining sectors in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia, and the oil wealth of Angola have been magnets for both skilled and unskilled labour migrants from within the region and elsewhere. An estimated 2.9 million migrants resided in South Africa at mid-year 2020 (ibid.), the most industrialized economy in the region and a particularly attractive destination for those in search of education and better opportunities. 

In the eastern part of the region, Comoros, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and other countries are frequently affected by natural hazards such as cyclones and flooding (IDMC, 2019). Slow-onset disasters such as drought impact the lives and the migration patterns of millions in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia (SADC, 2019). Fluid, circular migration patterns and maintenance of socioeconomic networks between rural places of origin and urban centers have become increasingly common strategies for resilience in this diverse region (FAO and CIRAD, 2017).