Comparing migration trends: North America and Southern Africa

Image: Getty, Douglas Sacha

You are invited to join us for this seminar as we host Dr Jorge Schiavon, an international expert on migration.

This seminar seeks to unpack the specific characteristics of migration in North America and Southern Africa, drawing lessons from their collective experience and contrasting the approaches from both regions.

Southern Africa is characterised by a legacy of migration, fuelled by the apartheid government’s desire for unskilled labour to service its agricultural and mining sectors. Almost twenty-five years into democracy South Africa continues to serve as a primary destination for attracting migrants across the region, despite government’s attempts to restrict and further regulate the movement of SADC nationals.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has struggled to make meaningful progress on the free movement of persons, and on implementing better mechanism to address the circular migration of semi-skilled and unskilled migrants throughout the region.

This session will be run by Asmita Parshotam, a researcher in the Economic Diplomacy programme at SAIIA, and will focus on unpacking Southern Africa’s attitude towards migration, the efforts of the SADC Secretariat and how political inertia is hampering the utilisation of migration as a tool for development.

Dr Jorge Schiavon, Professor of International Relations at the Department of International Studies at the Centre for Research and Economic Studies, Mexico, will present his views on the migration phenomenon in North and Central America. He will stress how myths and misconceptions have prevailed over serious analysis of the real flows of people in the region. He will argue that the study of migration should emphasize its impact on development and will unpack the four different components of the process: emigration, immigration, transit, and return.

He will discuss how migration studies must evolve so that regional migratory systems are viewed from a comprehensive, inclusive, comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, placing special emphasis on its effects on development and human rights.

Ms Parshotam and Dr Schiavon will be joined by a panel of experts.

Related material

Download Dr Jorge Schiavon’s full bio

Watch Dr Schiavon’s speech on Facebook Live

Presentation: Migration policy in South Africa

Presentation: Migration trends in Southern Africa

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