Welcome to the African Center for the Study and Research on Migration (ACSRM)

Youth and migration

Credit : Pexels

Against the backdrop of increasing globalization and global inequalities, migration is seen by millions of African youth as a way to escape from challenging living conditions, to aspire for better lives, as a symbol of maturation of personality and human dignity, a marker for belonging to a cosmopolitan or global citizenship. Most young African people are hard hit by poverty, unemployment, underemployment, severe social and economic hardships, and lack of quality education and training, among other challenges. They see migration internally or internationally as a fundamental resilience or social mobility strategy as they are desperate to change their lives. 

Credit : Photo by Lomoraronald – Wikimedia Commons 

With the increasing global inequalities, political and economic instability, and unemployment, there are growing pressures for African youth to migrate internationally. Migratory pressures against the backdrop of restrictive visa and migration policies and limited opportunities for legal migration result in African youth increasingly resorting to irregular migration routes in their desperate attempts to move to Europe, Gulf countries, and the US, with despair, suffering, inhumane conditions, human rights violations, and tragic circumstances. By increasing global connectedness, information communication technology and social networks raise expectations for democracy, respect of fundamental rights and human rights for dignified human life, access to decent jobs, quality education, etc. 

However, the fundamental development challenges facing many African countries, alongside conflicts, insecurity, and violence, hinder the realization of these young people’s legitimate aspirations.  

The fundamental challenges affecting African youth, such as unemployment, skills and educational gaps, and social exclusion, alongside the surge of irregular migration with a significant presence of African youth, have led to increasing concerns about youth migration issues in Africa. 

Due to failed or weak migration governance and a lack of practical solutions to address the root causes of migration, youth migration in Africa, notwithstanding its underlying opportunities, does not seem to result in a win-win drive benefiting African youth and their families and origin and destination countries. 

As the continent with the largest youth share in its total population, Africa’s pressing problems (poverty, economic crisis, unemployment, political instability, conflicts, etc.) have several implications for youth’s living conditions and aspirations. The continent still lags behind despite the tremendous natural resources and significant human capital potential that could spur inclusive, sustainable development. The African population, the vast majority, significantly young people, do not benefit from such resources and potentials. With the prominence of youth and the lack of opportunities facing this population, contemporary demographic trends in Africa have significant implications for Africa’s migration trends. International migration is seen as a desperate option to escape from unfavorable structural conditions against the backdrop of stringent visa and migration policies. 

The ACSRM aims to understand the causes, drivers, and implications of African youth migration in development, peace, security, employment, education, and the labor market. The ACSRM also delves into policy options and measures to address youth migration related to challenges and enhance the opportunities underlying youth migration and the potential of African youth to foster inclusive, sustainable development in the African continent. 

It is fundamental to integrate African youth migration into Africa’s migration governance and policy frameworks and address the opportunities, risks, and challenges of this type of migration. Policies also should consider the specific needs and aspirations of African youth. 

Particular focus will be enhancing understanding of: 

  • The causes, patterns, trends, challenges, and opportunities of African youth migration; 
  • Conduct qualitative as well as quantitative research of various aspects related to African youth and migration nexus and suggest policy implications to respond to the challenges and opportunities of African youth migration; 
  • The various challenges and risks facing African youth migrants, including their vulnerability to irregular migration, human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, exploitation, violence, etc.; 
  • Ways to empower African youth migrants, facilitate access to quality education and training, decent work, and social protection, promote their rights, and enhance their development contributions. 
  • The gender dimension of African youth migration, particular patterns and trends related to African girls and female youth migration, their challenges and risks, including gender-based discrimination and violence, and vulnerability to irregular migration; 
  • The development contribution of African youth migrants, including remittances and knowledge transfer, volunteering and philanthropic activities, and the challenges for maximizing their development contribution; 
  • Issues related to African youth migration and its implications on peace, security, and development of the African continent; 
  • Issues related to brain drain and brain waste in the context of African youth migration; 
Credit: Photo by Duke Makangila – Wikimedia Commons 
  • The causes, challenges, patterns, and trends of African child migration; 
  • The health risks facing African youth migrants; 
  • Local responses to African youth migrants; 
  • Climate change-related migration and youth; 
  • Displacement affecting African youth; 
  • Root causes of rural and urban African youth migration; 
  • International student migration; 
  • Strengthen the governance of African youth migration and integrate youth migration into development policy and planning. 

Related work


Vista bank Gambia

Vista bank Sierra Leone Limited

Vista bank Guinée

Vista Gui

Vista bank Groupe

Vista Assurance