Migration and development in the Horn of Africa

This project carries out work on migration and development for the Research and Evidence Facility (EU-REF). This is an initiative of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (EUTF) in the Horn of Africa (including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda).

The EU-REF comprises a small core team of researchers from SOAS, Manchester and Sahan Research in Nairobi, working with other researcher across the region to undertake a programme of research on themes related to the work of the EUTF. These have included the changing drivers of migration, the dynamics of cross-border economies and mobility in the region, the role of rural-urban migration on livelihoods and urban development, the impact of migration management initiatives on sustainable development, and the extent to which youth training and employment programmes affects migration dynamics. In addition, the EU-REF has undertaken research into the complex patterns of return to Somalia and supported a study of migration from Darfur towards Europe.

This project was funded by the European Union.

Key collaborators:

  • Laura Hammond (EU-REF Team leader) School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London
  • Vincent Chordi (Conflict & Governance Key Expert) Sahan Research, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Idil Osman (Communications Key Expert) SOAS
  • Caitlin Sturridge (Research Co-ordinator) and Lavender Mboya (Project Administrator) Sahan Research


The EU-REF has completed a number of reports from different studies:

  • Cross-Border Analysis and Mapping – September 2016 – exploring cross-border connections, livelihoods and movements in remote borders between Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea.
  • The Lure of the City Synthesis report on rural to urban migration in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda – February 2018 – examining the impact of movement from rural areas to secondary cities on peoples’ livelihoods, the city infrastructure and broader patterns of migration. Case studies -  Dire Dawa, Ethiopia; Eldoret, Kenya; and Gulu, Uganda.
  • Migration Between the Horn of Africa and Yemen: A Study of Puntland, Djibouti and Yemen - The research examines what is driving the growth in migration from the Horn of Africa to Yemen, and the extent to which smuggling and trafficking networks are involved in facilitating these movements. It also explores the impact of these movements on the lives of migrants, the local communities and wider society. Finally, it examines the existing policy and programme responses to this migration in order to identify potential gaps and opportunities for future policy and programming.
  • Assessing the impact of migration management systems on livelihoods and migration: Approaches to migration management: evidence from Puntland (Preliminary report) – May 2018– research exploring the actual and potential impact of migration management initiatives on sustainable development through a case study in the town of Bossaso, Somalia.
  • Return and (Re)Integration after Displacement: Belonging, Labelling and Urbanisation in Somalia – report to be launched in Nairobi, July 9th 2018. This study examines the complex array of movements towards three Somali cities (Mogadishu, Baidoa and Kismayo) including protracted and new internal displacement, organised and spontaneous repatriation of refugees, people returning from the diaspora, and arrival of deported asylum seekers and migrants from other countries.