Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Anja VAN HEELSUM, The Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

For many years Ethiopia has been one of the main refugee receiving countries in Africa. While in the past the conflict in DR Congo and Rwanda, Sudan and Somalia caused mayor refugees flows, more recently large influx of Eritreans and South Sudanese are manifest. That many of these forced migrants consider Ethiopia as a transit country, has become clear from other scholarly work. There is no perspective for the conflicts to end, and if the political situation in the country of origin improves, it’s economic chances are not optimistic. Therefore many migrants wait in refugees camps for resettlement by the UNHCR elsewhere, whereas others travel onwards themselves. Their stay in Ethiopia varies from very short to a year of more. ‘Hosting in the region’, a popular concept among European politicians, is a large scale practice in Ethiopia, but one can wander to what extend this is desirable both from the migrants and the Ethiopian perspective. In this paper we investigate how migrants in Ethiopia make the choice between settling in Ethiopia or further travel, and for whom there is a reasonable future if they would like to stay in Ethiopia.