The ISS is helping the international community get the facts on migration, and is bringing African voices into a difficult debate. It promotes migration management and governance as a human rights, development and socio-economic issue rather than a security concern.
The ISS also promotes a gender focus in Africa’s migration debate. Migration is traditionally seen as a male phenomenon, yet women are moving more than ever, often migrating independently to escape war or fulfil economic needs. ISS research in South Africa found that African women migrants face xenophobia, racism and misogyny, and that restrictive policy responses have disproportionate impacts on women and children.
ISS researchers understand the structural drivers of migration, and are working with African governments on policy responses. ISS is part of a steering committee on migration and urbanisation for the South African government’s inter-ministerial committee on population policy. ISS analysts advised South Africa on how it can reverse the country’s institutionalised negative attitudes towards low-skilled African migrants and asylum seekers by embracing migration’s development potential and providing legal pathways that promote orderly migration.
The ISS brings new facts to the debate, based on its fieldwork, analysis and relationships across the continent. By spending time on the ground talking with migrants and refugees, it is able to tell migrants’ stories about why they move. A series of groundbreaking reports have looked at the dynamics of migration in the Horn of Africa, responses to migration in Algeria, and people smuggling in Niger and Libya. The ISS also reported on freedom of movement in southern African and Ethiopia’s progressive refugee policy.
The ISS is an authority on African migration. It drives progressive narratives and highlighting migrants’ positive contribution in filling labour shortages and skills gaps, particularly in developed countries with a shrinking working age population.