Migration is an integral part of life in West and Central Africa, a long tradition embedded in its historical, economic, social and cultural fabric. The region is a pivotal area of mobility, home to strong intraregional migration and, thanks to its strategic location at the crossroads, close exchanges with other regions.This first edition of the “A Region on the Move” report provides an overview of population movement trends in West and Central Africa in 2020. It aims to provide a comprehensive overview of mobility in the region and showcase the versatility, multidimensionality and nuances of regional mobility in West and Central Africa.
To that end, the report presents regional mobility using two broad strokes:
- Internal forced displacement: the report provides a detailed analysis of regional displacement numbers, trends and events in 2020, focussing on the five primary security crises affecting West and Central Africa (the Lake Chad Basin Crisis, the Central Sahel Crisis, the Central African Republic Crisis, Nigeria’s North West & North Central Crisis and Cameroons’ Anglophone Crisis)
- Migration flows: the report provides a study of regional migration flows in West and Central Africa. This section makes a distinction between intraregional (internal to West and Central Africa) and inter-regional (with a focus on movements between West and Central Africa and North Africa and Europe) mobility: in each of these sections, the report examines the primary mobility trends and events observed in 2020 as well as the profiles of mobile populations.
The 2020 edition of the report also explores the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on mobility (including forced displacement and migration flows) and examines the health, socioeconomic, protection and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobile populations.
The analysis builds on multiple data sources, most of them directly managed and collected by IOM, with external sources used to further complement the mobility picture and provide a holistic understanding of population movement dynamics in West and Central Africa. IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which monitors internal forced displacements, migration flows, and characteristics of populations on the move constitutes the main data source for the report.