Towards a Pan-African Migration and Development Agenda
Robtel Neajai Pailey
Although most African migration is voluntary, safe, orderly, and regular, policymakers tend to pander to popular narratives of an irregular “swarm” of African nationals invading the West. African migration occurs primarily within the continent, representing broader processes of political, economic, and social development by contributing to growth rates, promoting regional economic integration, and fostering trade, investment, commerce, knowledge transfer, and human contact. If harnessed properly, migration could further enhance productivity in agriculture, construction, mining, and services within the continent. Despite its potential, however, intra-Africa migration is hampered by restrictive policies including tight controls around visa access, rights of residency, employment, and citizenship for foreign African nationals. In this talk, I will present evidence-based scholarly research and policymaking on drivers, patterns and trends in African mobility, and make concrete suggestions for how policymakers in the continent can design and implement pan-African migration policies that foster development.
Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author of the award-winning anti-corruption children’s books Gbagba and Jaadeh!. With more than 15 years of combined personal and professional experiences at the intersection of scholarship, policy and practice, she has worked across a broad range of fields supporting universities, governments, media institutions, multilateral, regional, non-governmental and community-based organisations in Africa, Europe and North America. Robtel’s core areas of research expertise include the political economy of development, migration, conflict, post-war recovery and governance. She has published in academic journals (ie, African Affairs; Review of African Political Economy); edited book volumes (ie, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics; From the Slave Trade to ‘Free’ Trade: How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa); magazines and newspapers (ie, New African; International New York Times). Previously an Ibrahim Leadership Fellow at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Robtel currently serves as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID), where she conducts research on race, citizenship, ‘South-South’ migration and development cooperation in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Visit www.robtelneajaipailey.com for more information.
Using natural ecosystems for climate adaptation in a post-apartheid Southern African capital
Globally, nearly one billion urbanites live in areas termed ‘informal settlements’, groups of dwellings whose residents lack tenure security, access to basic services such as water and electricity, and suffer from food insecurity, among a slew of other challenges. In Southern Africa in particular, these individuals are also highly vulnerable to the predicted impacts of climate change, such as prolonged droughts, high volumes of water when rains do fall (leading to flash floods), as well as increasing temperatures. Since independence in 1990, there has been a proliferation of informal settlements surrounding Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, driven by increased rural-urban migration. Now, nearly one third of the city’s population live in homes made of corrugated iron sheets and other cheap materials, in marginal and hazard prone areas on the north and north-west periphery of the city, such as hilly slopes and dry riverbeds (Windhoek has an ephemeral river system). This study assessed the role that natural ecosystems could play in improving the climate resilience of residents in Windhoek’s informal settlements.
Amayaa has just completed the MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, and holds a BSc in Environment Sciences (Hons) from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her MSc dissertation explored the scope for using Ecosystem-based Adaptations (EbA) to climate change to increase resilience of peri-urban informal settlements in Windhoek, Namibia. This involved 2 months of fieldwork in Namibia, engaging with government officials, INGOs (including those engaging with housing development, climate finance, climate adaptation etc.), as well as engaging with community leaders and academics involved in pro-poor development. She is currently a Research Assistant on the Urban Ecolution Research Program (University of Cape Town and University of York), with which she collaborated for her MSc research.
The Linacre Seminars run every other Tuesday during term time, showcasing the varied and talented speakers from the College in a variety of disciplines. All Welcome. Non-alcoholic drinks, wine, cheese, and nibbles will be served.