Migration data in Eastern Africa

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Eastern Africa has historically been part of global migration and trade networks and continues to play an important role in both. The geographic sub-region1spans a total of 18 countries, ranging from Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda in the west to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia in the east to Malawi, Mozambique, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the south and the island nations of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles2, each with its unique migration pattern and profile.

Home to an estimated population of 445 million, the sub-region hosted 7.7 million international migrants at mid-year 2020 (UN DESA, 2020a) and 3.6 million refugees and asylum seekers in 2019 (UNHCR, 2020a). IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) observed 744,113 movements in the region. Of these, over 63 per cent were intending to travel eastwards to the Arab Peninsula from the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA)3 region and over 2 per cent northwards to northern Africa and Europe.4 The region is characterized by developmental challenges and shifting demographics as populations grow and migrate towards urban centres, other parts of the region or beyond. Migration drivers include poverty, conflict and environmental events such as droughts and floods. Since mid-2018, the region has experienced major, positive geopolitical shifts following the signing of a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, triggering a series of initiatives aimed at boosting the stability of the region as a whole.