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Trends in Contemporary International Migration of Ethiopia

Fikadu Tolossa Ayanie, Dagnachew T. Melese, Eyayew T. Beze, Tihtina A. Fanta
PanAfrican Journal of Governance and Development (PJGD) , Volume 1, pp 30-60; doi:10.46404/panjogov.v1i2.2342

Abstract: Ethiopia is found in the ‘Eastern Africa migration system’ known for turbulent population mobility due to a host of social, economic, and political factors. The migration problem of East Africa, in which, a substantial exploration of the complexity and intensity of the migration pattern of Ethiopia has become necessary in the context of social transformation and development processes. To this end, this study is designed to provide migratory change and developmental patterns of international migration of Ethiopia in regional and sub-regional perspectives based on long-term macro statistics. The data obtained from the Reports of the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs and World Bank’s Development Indicators have been used to describe, analyze and explain long-term patterns of international migration of Ethiopia within the regional contexts. Results show the trend that Ethiopia experienced a continuous increase in its international migrant stock in the last five decades, from less than 400,000 in 1960 to over 1 million in 2015. Refugees and transit migrants constituted the largest number of immigrants, mostly from the neighboring countries, driven by continuous conflicts and political instability. Ethiopia, once dominant in refugee flows in the Horn of Africa due to political conflict, famine, and persecution, experienced a sharp decline in the share of refugees in the Horn of Africa in the last three decades. Economic motives have recently become the prime factors in migration decisions among the Ethiopians as observed with the fact that the USA and the Middle East are the major destinations. The findings revealed that Ethiopian emigration is characterized by the inter-continental flows unlike the Sub-Saharan migration pattern known to have an intra-continental migratory link. Feminization of Ethiopian migration is also evident particularly in core destination countries of the Global North, which indicates the increasing role of females in migration decisions but also disproves the widely held perception about Ethiopians emigration to the Arab World as female-specific. In the final analysis, Ethiopia could be regarded rather as a destination, with over 1.2 million migrants, than as an origin, with just over 800,000 as of 2017, which now make the country a regional migration hub in the Horn of Africa.
Keywords: Africa / Refugees / Regional / development processes / Migration Pattern / known / migratory / Ethiopians

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