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YOUTH OUTMIGRATION FROM SOUTHERN ETHIOPIA: INCENTIVES, RISKS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES [Abstract ID: 1002-11]
Migration is a phenomenon as old as human history. In recent times, migration has shown marked increase globally. This is true to Africa as well, where extra-continental migration has witnessed a steady rise over the last few decades for various reasons. Ethiopia stands as one of the largest sources of migrants who take three routes in their voyage out of the country; western/northern, eastern, and southern. The southern migration route is largely the preferred route for Ethiopians from the southern part of the country. From the southern Ethiopia region, Hadiya and Kembata-Tembaro zones are the areas that have experienced massive youth outmigration in recent times. Despite the higher incidence of youth outmigration from these two zones, literature on the subject remains scant especially in addressing the social dimension of the problem, the risks involved, and the attempted mitigation strategies. The purpose of this paper is to examine the incentives for migration and the associated risks and mitigation strategies employed by migrants from Hadiya and Kembata-Tebaro zones of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State. To this effect, potential migrants, returnees, families of migrants, local government officials and CSOs working on migration-related issues have been consulted to generate primary data through questionnaires and focus group discussions. The data reveal that while the incentives for migration are largely associated with aspirations for better life conditions, the anticipated respect they can bestow on their families back home by sending remittance leading to betterment of life is also a motivating factor. The risks that they encounter include loss of money to middlemen and traffickers, physical and psychological harm, and detention and deportation in both transit and destination countries. In what appears to be an anticipatory move, youth migrants from the two zones employ generating funding, gathering reliable information, psychological readiness and ‘proper’ broker selection as risk mitigation strategies.