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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ASNAKE Kefale, Dept. of Political Science and International Relations, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
FANA Gebresenbet, Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Paper presenters:

Nicole HIRT; ABDULKADER Saleh Mohammad; Anja VAN HEELSUM; Nissim AVISSAR; ASNAKE Kefale;
FANA Gebresenbet; Gianmarco SALVATI; MARTHA Berhanu Meshesha; Jehonathan BEN; Erin C. MACLEOD;
ALEMU Asfaw Nigusie; KALEWONGEL Minale; WELDEHIWOT Birhanu Aseffa; KIYA Gezahegne;
YORDANOS Seifu Estifanos; TIZAZU Ayalew; DAWIT Getu; SALEH Seid Adem; FEKADE Terefe;
FEKADU Adugna Tufa

In recent years, there has been a significant rise in outward migration from Ethiopia. The major destinations of Ethiopian migrants are the oil rich Gulf countries, North America, Europe and South Africa. The proverbial push and pull factors form the impetus for outward migration from Ethiopia, with the push factors which are tied to a country’s social, economic, and political conditions showing some dynamism over the recent decades. Since the beginning of the 1990s, socio-economic factors appear to be the key drivers for international migration from Ethiopia. With higher level of population growth and the obvious difficulty of the economy to absorb the more than one million new entries to the job market every year, international migration has thus emerged as one important strategy that young people use to escape out of poverty.
Migration from Ethiopia is both regular and irregular. Regular (legal) migration in which the migrants secure entry and work permits tends to be less problematic than irregular (illegal) migration. Much of the migration from Ethiopia is irregular and managed by a large network of illegal brokers, traffickers and smugglers. In spite of massive government public education campaign about the adverse impacts of irregular migration, a large number of young Ethiopians still migrate out of the country using the irregular (illegal) routes predominantly to the oil rich Arab Gulf countries and the Republic of South Africa. Government efforts to address youth unemployment have not so far led to a reduction to irregular migration due to two reasons. First, income from MSEs and formal employment appears to be low. Second, the difficulty of stemming what could be called a ‘culture of migration’, which ties personal, social and material success with international migration.
In this panel we invite papers dealing with trends and dynamics of international migration from Ethiopia. Specific papers could address the following and other related issues/topics:



Nicole HIRT, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, GIGA Hamburg, Germany
ABDULKADER Saleh Mohammad, University of Oslo (emeritus)

More than a million labour migrants from Horn of Africa countries, including Ethiopia, work in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, the majority of them in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They live under difficult conditions and are subject to the restrictions imposed by the GCC’s labour laws. The presentation will focus on Eritrean workers as a case study. Up to half of the Eritrean population is living abroad, from where it is generating one third of the national budget. There is also a significant, but little-known community residing and working in Arab countries. They are one of the longest-existing labour migrant communities in Saudi Arabia, but in contrast to the Eritrean diaspora in Western countries, we know very little about their living conditions, the problems they face in their every- day lives and about their coping strategies. Like other migrant workers from the Horn, they are subject to exploitation and to an insecure residential status. In addition, the Eritrean diplomatic missions demand the payment of a two percent diaspora tax from all Eritreans abroad. Drawing on research based on the narratives of affected labour migrants and on literature evaluation, the presentation will point out how the restrictive labour laws of the GCC countries influence the life of labour migrants from the Horn of Africa, with a focus on the plight of women, whose status is particularly vulnerable.



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.



Nissim AVISSAR, Kibbutzim Collage of Education, Israel

The Ethiopian immigrant community is under-represented in numerous spheres of Israeli life, although in the past few decades, a trend has been developing to acknowledge and legitimize cultural variance among different social groups (Ben-Rafael, 2008). Israelis of Ethiopian origin suffer from discrimination and low socio-economic status (Dayan, 2014). The policy that aims for equality, pluralism, a "common creative space" (Ben Ezer and Bar Lev, 2011) and appropriate representation for different groups has not been implemented to date. This situation has numerous implications for the self-image, social status and collective identity of the involved individuals, as well as for Israeli society in general. Under-representation of teachers and teacher-training students of Ethiopian origin has been on the agenda of Israel's education system and society for many years. The bodies engaged in this issue include the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, teacher-training colleges, and Knesset (Israeli parliament) members. Members of the Jewish Ethiopian Immigrant Community have often pointed out the scarcity of teachers of Ethiopian origin, and the implications of this phenomenon for the education system and its students. The exclusion of members of the Ethiopian immigrant community from public educational work is a lost opportunity to create a multi-cultural and equal social fabric that would respect each of the groups of which society is comprised, and see them as equally valuable. This presentation aims to present the perspective of female educators (the vast majority of students of education are women) of Ethiopian origin regarding this issue, through individual in-depth semi-structured interviews. The research participants were selected because, having completed their training and successfully integrated into their respective workplaces, they were able to point out the obstacles their community members struggle with in order to enter the teaching profession. The participants were also able to pinpoint their specific needs, and propose ways to narrow the gap between teachers of Ethiopian origin and their colleagues. The findings of this research indicate that the situation is particularly complex at three specific points in time: admission as a student, training to be a teacher, and professional integration. This complexity intensifies the challenges faced by school and pre-school teachers of Ethiopian origin. An approach that aspires for equality would support an appropriate and sensitive integration that would enable the involved individuals to realize their personal and social potential. After analysis of the interviews, the presentation will present five major applicative conclusions or recommendations for policy makers and teacher educators, that may help facilitate the integration of teachers of Ethiopian origin in Israel's education system.



ASNAKE Kefale, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

The rate of Ethiopia’s international migration (0.7%) is lower than the sub-Saharan African average, 2.5%. There has been, however, a significant rise in outward migration from Ethiopia in recent years. The dominant cause for outward migration from Ethiopia is economic – the desire to have better economic opportunities abroad. The country has a high annual rate of population growth, 2.36%. The population structure of the country, which is highly dominated by youth, also contributes to the growing trend of outward migration. In addition to socio-economic issues (demographic pressures and unemployment), political instability, violence and conflict lead to outward migration. Even if there has been a significant decline in the number of people who leave the country due to political reasons, there are still tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers in neighbouring countries and elsewhere. Using empirical materials generated from a recent study carried out in the four larger regions of the country namely, Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples and the city of Addis Ababa, this paper examines three interrelated issues: (1) motivations for international migration, (2) recent trends in migration and (3) the impact of migration policies. First, the motivations for outward migration from Ethiopia are examined by the proverbial push and pull factors. Some of the major push factors that are examined in the paper include poverty, cultural and attitudinal factors, peer pressure, peer and family pressure, unemployment and landlessness, low wages and advances in information and communication technologies. On the other hand, the pull factors include social, political and economic factors. Second, recent trends in Ethiopia’s outward migration are examined. Among other things, this part of the paper examines – regular and irregular migration, routes of migration and destination countries, socio-economic and gender impacts of migration. Third, the paper examines the impacts of policies that have been adopted by the Ethiopian government to contain irregular/illegal migration and also regularise labour migration to the gulf countries.



FANA Gebresenbet, Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

In recent years, irregular migration became a major public issue in Ethiopia and the world. One of the main areas of migration of Ethiopian migrants is Tigray. Based on extensive fieldwork in Mekelle and three Woredas from different Zones of the region (Raya Alamata, Abi Adi and Atsbi-Wonberta) and interviews with officials, experts, potential migrants and returnees in January 2017, this paper aims to establish the root causes, the routes followed by the migrants, and available policy options to curb irregular migration. A mix of macro-level/structural (such as economic, livelihood, institutional) and meso-level/cultural, (i.e., peer pressure, family pressure) factors limit the options the young have to leading a decent life in their Woreda/country, and coerce them into making the decision to migrate irregularly. The greatest majority of irregular migrants from Tigray originate from Woredas in Eastern, South Eastern, Southern and Central Zones located along the escarpment cascading down into the Afar plains. Migrants from these Woredas take the old established route, the ‘Eastern Route’, through Djibouti or Somaliland to Yemen before reaching Saudi Arabia. Recently, a new route is ‘under formation’ in Western and North Western Zones, the Western Route. Pioneered by Eritrean refugees taking shelter in the camps located there, relatively fewer migrants have started crossing the border into Sudan and heading to Libya/Egypt, taking Europe as the destination. Woredas on the older route appear to be entangled in a myriad of socio-economic and cultural factors which sustain the momentum for further migration, thus reducing policy effectiveness to curb irregular migration. Available options of establishing micro- and small enterprises, extending credit facilities, provision of skills training, awareness creation, and taking legal and security measures against ‘brokers’ ignore the agency of the young and do not appear to bring the desired change.



Gianmarco SALVATI, University of Naples

This paper is based on research carried out in the city of Mekelle, capital of the Federal Region of Tigray, and deals with the situation of urban youth, unemployment, neoliberalism and international migration. In recent years, migration from Ethiopia has largely increased despite the fact that the economy of the country has been growing. I wish to show that youth migration happens despite economic growth. The two elements are related. One of the main reasons behind the migration of young men is still unemployment, but, as emerged from many scholars citing examples from all over Africa, migration largely involves educated young men who try to improve their economic situation quickly, according to the myth of rapid growth subscribed to by neoliberalism. The paper will try to shed light on the motivations and the beliefs that drive young men to emigrate and the ambitions they want to achieve.



MARTHA Berhanu Meshesha, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia

Young Ethiopian women from rural areas in Ethiopia have been migrating to international destinations, mainly the Middle East, with increased numbers. This migration is often depicted as disadvantageous to the migrants, because of abusive working condition and insufficient economic returns. Migrant women are seen as passive victims. Despite the effort of the government to curb this migration, more young women continue to migrate to Middle Eastern destinations. This paper discusses the experience of young women migrants from their own perspective, focusing on initial expectations of migration, the migration process, the experiences abroad and upon return. The narratives reconstruct the migration experiences of the women and the impact of their transition to adulthood and their consequent return to Ethiopia. The study uses transnational migration theory, feminist analyses of migration and concepts dealing with social age and youth transition. The field research has been conducted in Gomma Wereda, Jimma Zone, and employs mainly interviews. The study reveals the transnational experiences of young women migrants/returnees and how these experiences contribute to shaping expectations and to creating new gender relations resulting in increased migration of young women. Both the experiences of migration and its outcomes are diverse. Women are not passive victims but agents of their decisions who in their post return residence in their home space experience conflicting expectations and often decide to remigrate.



Jehonathan BEN, Deakin University

Migration from countries in the Horn of Africa to Australia has increased considerably over the last couple of decades, and includes many migrants who have resettled in Australia under its Refugee and Humanitarian Programme. While finding gainful work is crucial to migrants’ welfare, Horn of Africa migrants in Australia continue to face various challenges in this arena, including high rates of unemployment, concentration in certain low-status, low-paid industries and occupations, and discrimination. In an attempt to elaborate and enrich the scholarship on these topics, I engage with some of the personal work histories and stories that shape migrants’ contemporary circumstances and experiences with work in Australia. I discuss changes to work trajectories over time and the significance of work and ideas about work for understanding migrants’ working lives. This paper draws on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork, centred largely on ongoing conversations and in-depth interviews with 18 highly educated Eritrean migrants who live in Melbourne. It aims to break away from the strong, sometimes exclusive focus on early resettlement in Australia that characterises much of the literature on this topic, by looking at pre-migration work experiences and careers – both in Eritrea and during years-long journeys through Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and elsewhere – as well as at transformations to work long after resettlement in Australia. Finally, by directing attention to Eritrean migrants’ actions, I aim to expand the limited space currently given to their dilemmas, decisions, plans and aspirations in relation to work and in the face of rapid changes and constraining local conditions.



Erin C. MACLEOD, Vanier College, Montreal, Canada

Over the past decade, I have engaged in research looking at the relationship between diaspora populations, specifically members of the pan-African community in the Caribbean and Africa, with specific focus on Ethiopia. My research has demonstrated that the perceptions that exist between members of the diaspora versus that of the homeland population can make the settlement of diaspora populations who plan to return home difficult. There are social, economic and cultural differences between diaspora and home country nationals. These differences can cause difficulties such as miscommunications or misunderstanding. But there is great value in mediating these issues and challenges. Due to the increased amount of connections made possible by communications technologies and the founding of international diaspora organizations, “migrants are now in a better position to become involved in the development process of their countries of origin than ever before” (International Organization for Migration 2005). The focus of this paper, therefore, is the relationship between members of a country’s diaspora, in this case Ethiopia, and home country nationals through an analysis of two diaspora volunteering programs. Ethiopia represents one of the four countries that has been involved in Canadian INGO Cuso International’s Diaspora Volunteering Program initiatives and one of the five countries that was involved in a USAID- and Accenture-funded Diasporas for Development program. The project looks towards ways of bridging gaps, ensuring an increased potential of successful volunteer experience and valuable development work. It attempts to take into account differences in experiences, considering the perspectives of volunteers as well as all stakeholders in the diaspora volunteering experience. These perspectives arise from the range of different social categories (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation) that make up the identities of volunteers, partners and beneficiaries. Overall, this paper looks to provide insight into the varied yet specific ways that diaspora volunteers have an impact on the communities where they work as well as on the communities in their adopted homelands.



ALEMU Asfaw Nigusie, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
KALEWONGEL Minale, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia

Ethiopia is currently accommodating close to one million refugees, mainly from Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia, in its 28 camps erected across the country. Out of this figure, close to 200,000 are estimated to be Eritreans and they have settled in six refugee camps. While four camps (Shimelba, Hitsats, Adi Harush, and Mai Ayni) are found in the Tigray regional state, the remaining two (Berhale and Asayita) are located in the Afar regional state. The main objective of this study was to understand the nature of refugee-host relationship with particular reference to the refugees and the hosts that are found in the Tigray regional state. To this effect, data was collected through interview, focus group discussion, document review, and participant observation. The study found that the relationship between the two groups has not been always the same. It has exhibited elements of dynamism across time. Relatively speaking, the initial contact was marred by antagonistic feelings, while now they have developed friendly interactions. For instance, the refugees and hosts are participating in several occasions and sharing different spaces and resources. Internal (the aspiration and attitude of refugees and attitude of the hosts) and external (the role of the government) factors were involved to affect the quality of their relationship and the status of the refugees in the eye of the local hosts. The refugees have brought both benefits (economic and social) and costs (economic, social, and environmental) to the local community. Despite the friendly relations, some of these negative sides of the refugee settlement have become sources of tension and conflict between the two groups, but at an individual level. Accordingly, the study concludes that the Eritrean refugees and the Tigrean local hosts have come to establish cordial relationships at the moment despite past (Ethio-Eritrea war (1998-2000)) and present snags (negative sides of the refugees). The prevailing cordial relationship entails that the positive sides appear to outweigh the negative sides of the refugees. Consequently, ARRA’s mission to see a strong people-to-people relationship between the refugees and the local hosts looks to be working at the moment. Nonetheless, the study also recommends the government and other relevant stakeholders address the negative consequences of the refugee settlement immediately before it is too late.



WELDEHIWOT Birhanu Aseffa, Samara University, Afar, Ethiopia

In the 21st century, the issue of refugee is becoming one of the top burning issues in the world. But, in the available literature on refugee studies, particularly in Ethiopia, very little is known about the interaction between refugees and the host communities. The objective of this study is to describe and understand the interactions among the Eritrean refugees in Shimelba camp (Northern Ethiopia) and the surrounding host community, the benefits and burdens of the refugees on the host community. To address the objective, qualitative data collection methods have been used. Interviews (in-depth and semi-structured), observations (participant and non-participant), Focus Group Discussion (FGD), and case studies have been employed. Informants from the refugee communities, the host community inside and outside of the camp and concerned bodies from government and NGOs were selected using purposive and snowball sampling methods. The primary data is analyzed and interpreted qualitatively in harmony with the secondary data. Findings of this study show that the Eritrean refugees in Shimelba camp have developed social and economic interactions. There are strong ties of neighborhood, kinship, marriage (actual marriage and commercial marriage), religion, sharing of social services, conflict resolution, crop production and market exchange which help them establish economic interaction with the host community. The study found that the refugees enjoy social, psychological, economic and environmental benefits and the host community as well. The presence of the refugees augments access to basic infrastructures, market and employment opportunities for the host community. Nevertheless, due to the arrival of refugees, members of the host community are facing socio-economic crises which include threats to local culture, human trafficking and increased living cost. Likewise, refugees aggravated environmental problems like deforestation and water and pasture depletion found in the surroundings of Shimelba camp. Finally, this investigation might encourage policy makers to include the interaction between refugees and host communities in steps for mutual refugee and host community development.



KIYA Gezahegne, Addis Ababa University, Social Anthropology Department, Ethiopia

In the Amhara regional state, work outside the house appears to be the best strategy to secure a livelihood for a household in the present changing economic, social, political and physical environment. Migration to the Gulf States and the Sudan has been seen as a major option by the youth from the region. While there is much debate about the advantages and pitfalls of migration, this study moves beyond them to the ideologies of rituals performed by migrants from the region leaving for the Sudan and the Gulf States.
Prior to departure, migrants have a preconceived idea of what to expect on the journey and the experiences to be faced in the destination country. Ethiopian migrants are told they are expected to become more submissive. This predefined notion includes the protection against an unwanted pregnancy by using contraceptive methods as well as acts of ritual cleansing in the church and religious rituals for a safe journey and some luck. The ritual of cleansing oneself continues upon return among Christian migrants, particularly women. In some Amhara communities, early marriage of potential migrants is promoted for a girl to experience sexual relationship prior to leaving the country, as it is believed to play down the psychological effect of sexual abuse in the destination country. The remittances to be sent back home are sometimes fought over between spouse and the family of the migrant. The paper focuses on these practices taken as rituals by migrants and the ideologies associated with them.



YORDANOS Seifu Estifanos, Geneva Global, Ethiopia

The meaning of personal relationships for Ethiopian migrants to South Africa is shaped by individual connections, by imported social networks, and by the particular conditions of livelihood creation in the informal economy of South Africa. This study looks into how the narratives of pioneer Ethiopian migrants, manifested in sent-back-home materials and social media applications, induce further migration. An Ethnographic research method is employed in Southern Ethiopia and South Africa to look into the nexus among social networks, dreams and risks. The financial and material success representation of Ethiopian migrants in South Africa is in sharp contrast to the low living standard in rural southern Ethiopia. The effect of this on the sending communities is to paint a rosy picture about South Africa intensifying youth migration to South Africa as well as blinding potential migrants to the multitude of risks they encounter in the migration and settlement processes. The male-dominated migration of Ethiopians into South Africa has also induced the migration of "would-be-wives" females, who share the same dream and encounter risks of diverse kind. Once they arrive in South Africa, they experience both separation and reconnection - with families and relatives back home. The social world of Ethiopian migrants in South Africa becomes even more complex once they arrive in South Africa. Many social connections and dislocations are affected by the life choices in which income generation and economic relations are the primary aim and social relations are necessarily a secondary aim. Others are influenced by the strength of informal social networks that serve the needs of Ethiopian migrants. And, far from ‘here’ and ‘there’ being connected through the use of technology and advanced connectivity, ‘home’ and South Africa are experienced as quite separate and different places.



TIZAZU Ayalew, Debre Birhan University, Ethiopia
DAWIT Getu, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

The paper intends to address the causes and impacts on human security of international irregular migrants from Bale zone, Southeastern Ethiopia. Though Bale is one of irregular migration hub areas in Ethiopia and the problem continues to bring unprecedented crisis for migrants’ human security, existing efforts to address the issue still remain unsupported by scientific inquiry - a gap dealt in this paper. A qualitative approach was employed to conduct the study. Interviews and focus group discussions were utilized to collect data along with consultation of secondary materials. Among others, migrant returnees, potential migrants, families of migrants, and government stakeholders were sources of information. The finding revealed that, Bale is found to be an irregular migration core. Therefore, migration is caused, facilitated and accelerated by fundamental factors such as poverty, unemployment, existing strong positive perception towards migration, and with the influence of illegal brokers. Moreover, family and peer pressure, social networks and factors related to administrative failures such as poor bureaucratic and infrastructural delivery and weak response to the problem are also triggering factors. The problem highly affects the personal security of migrants: their survival, livelihood and dignities are extremely threatened at transit and destination countries. Severe exploitation by traffickers and employers such as death through murder and accident, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, forced labor and enslavement, physical and psychological assault, kidnapping for ransom, forced confinement, deportation, xenophobic attack and vulnerability to risks of domestic political instability are among the major risks that irregular migrants commonly face and which are threats to their security.



SALEH Seid Adem, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia

Most studies on international labor migration have focused on the causes and socio economic status of migrants in the receiving society. This paper focuses on transnational labor drain as an agent of change in the lives of the sending communities and the environment. It focuses on the less well-studied sending side of the migration band. This paper looks at the migrants’ home community population dynamics (i.e. social life) and analyzes how the division of labor, divorce rate, gender relation, material culture and rural production are being affected or conditioned by a highly selective labor drain to Arab Countries and the environmental responses to it. This impact relationship between the migrants and their home areas operate through the preconditions of migration, social and economic remittances and the loss of the most productive part of the rural population. The migration-induced migration i.e. transnational migration causing a rural-urban wave among sending households in the rural sending community is another crucial issue this paper brings to the table of migration dialogue. The paper also seeks to explore the causes and indicators of the transnational labor drain in the rural community. The impact of out-migration on the rural areas is highlighted through survey and archival data, observations, qualitative interviews and biographical sketches of affected households. A temporal impact analysis model (TIAM) is developed and used to capture the multi-temporal and dimensional aspect of the impact of out-migration on the rural sending communities.



FEKADE Terefe, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
ASNAKE Kefale, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

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.



FEKADU Adugna Tufa, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the hub of international migrations in the Horn of Africa. With its geostrategic location, the country is very important as source, transit and destination of international migration. Annual emigration from Ethiopia is estimated to be around half a million of which 60-70% are irregular migrants who use different land and sea routes and networks. Recently, migration and cross-border human mobility has become one of the top global concerns in development and security agendas. On the one hand, the attention migration has been given at the global, regional and national level including its inclusion in the 2030 UN agenda for sustainable development and a number of other initiatives such as EU trust fund confirms and reinforces the importance of relations between migration and development. On the other hand, in the context of contemporary “migration and refugee crises” in the Middle East, Horn of Africa, the Mediterranean region and beyond compounded with the expansion of religious extremism and terrorist practices, unregulated migration is chiefly seen as a major national security concern of the developed countries. In view of this, multilateral and bilateral development stakeholders as well as international organizations working on migration suggest allocating resources to areas considered major sources of migration for employment creation as part of their endeavour to stop migration. The Ethiopian government’s public discourse in relation to migration, however, emphasizes “human trafficking” rather than trying to understand why the youth migrate in this large numbers. Both, the simplistic perspective that equalizes migration with poverty, and the government’s criminalization of migration, do not give due attention to understanding the migrants’ point of view. In this paper, based on fieldwork conducted in three districts considered the major sources of migration in Oromia National Regional State that contributes about one third of migration from Ethiopia, it is argued that migration decision making is a complex phenomenon that cannot be explained by such simplistic variables. The paper will discuss these complex and multiple factors.