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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FIREHIWOT Sintayehu, Addis Ababa University, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Ethiopia

International migration trends from Ethiopia are increasing over time and cost the lives of many emanating from its irregularity. As a result, the Government of Ethiopia has acknowledged migration as a major policy issue in more recent years. While considering the problem of migration in Ethiopia, understanding the extent of it in Addis Ababa is evident as an IOM study revealed that the city contributes 16.3% of Ethiopian migrants; one in every forty people migrated from Addis Ababa in 2016. Numerous youth, whose exact figures remain undocumented, travel to second countries in Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), Europe and South Africa using the irregular path. While studying migration, the trend is to place emphasis on structural push-pull factors which ignores additional dynamisms which reinforce and exacerbate the rate of migration. The present study puts forward the argument that there is a need to recognize that structural challenges such as unemployment/underemployment and other manifestations of poverty may lead to migration through the operation of meso factors such as networks and middle-men as well as micro-level individual motivations and experiences. Policy responses from the Government of Ethiopia are found to have downsides in order to deter the influx of irregular migrants to various migration partly because of the challenges of implementation including insufficient budget and manpower and also because of less emphasis on the meso and micro determinants of migration. Hence, youth migration in Addis Ababa is explained by looking into these meso and micro factors along with their possible interaction with macro issues such as structural causes of migration and state policies. In order to achieve the main objective of the research, key informant interviews with prospective migrants, returnees, and relevant government officials are conducted in parts of the city where migration has become normative in the day-to-day lives of inhabitants.