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12 Jan 2023

Migrant Welfare Systems in Africa: Case Studies in Selected African Union Member States: Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa

This report interrogates country-of-origin measures to extend social protection and broader-based support services to African migrant workers abroad. It reflects on the challenges faced by international migrants in accessing social protection and welfare support, and notes that in many respects and for a variety of reasons, African migrant workers are not able to access meaningful social protection – despite the human rights framework normatively informing the protection of migrant workers. 

Note is taken of the important role of bilateral and multilateral agreements, but also of purely country-of-origin measures in the absence of any other meaningful modality of support. Particular attention is paid to the weak social (security) protection received by most African migrant workers in the Gulf countries. The social protection extended by six African countries, representing three African regions, to their workers abroad is reflected upon – particularly in terms of the supportive arrangements developed for this purpose. These are considered in light of the treatment in social security/protection terms enjoyed by (im)migrant workers in these and selected other countries, and against best practice examples.

  • Acronyms
  • 1 Background and introduction
    • 1.1. Purpose and scope of the report
    • 1.2. Migrant welfare funds: Description, objectives and operational framework
    • 1.3. Social protection: A conceptual note
    • 1.4. Limitations
  • 2 Methodology
  • 3 The international normative framework and challenges faced by international migrants in accessing social protection
    • 3.1. Challenges faced by international migrants in accessing social protection
    • 3.2. A human rights approach to social protection
    • 3.3. Country-of-destination obligations to migrant workers
    • 3.4. Country-of-origin measures to protect migrant workers
    • 3.5. Bilateral and multilateral agreements/arrangements
  • 4 Labour migration trends and characteristics: Selected countries of origin
    • 4.1. Continental and regional labour migration patterns
    • 4.2. African labour migration to countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council
    • 4.3. Labour migration in selected countries of origin
  • 5 Social protection and support services for migrant workers extended by countries of destination: Selected country experiences
    • 5.1. Legal, policy and other arrangements
    • 5.2. Barriers to accessing social protection and support services 
    • 5.3. Bilateral and multilateral agreements/arrangements
    • 5.4. Conclusions and recommendations
  • 6 Social protection and support services for migrant workers extended by countries of origin: Selected country experiences
    • 6.1. Legal, policy and other arrangements
    • 6.2. Barriers to accessing social protection and support services
    • 6.3. Bilateral and multilateral agreements/arrangements
    • 6.4. Conclusions and recommendations
  • 7 Migrant worker welfare programmes: Comparative examples
    • 7.1. Overall perspectives: A recent study
    • 7.2. Nepal
    • 7.3. The Philippines
    • 7.4. Bangladesh
    • 7.5. Selected further examples of social security schemes and insurance-based coverage for migrant workers abroad: Indonesia and Sri Lanka
    • 7.6. Dedicated extension of social protection arrangements to migrant workers in countries of destination: The example of Canada 
    • 7.7. The value of migrant resource centres
    • 7.8. Conclusions and recommendations
  • 8 Selected high-level conclusions and recommendations
  • 9 Bibliography
  • Appendix 1 Key recruitment standards
  • Appendix 2 Remittances, the diaspora and return migrants
  • Appendix 3 Blueprint for establishing a Migrant Welfare Fund
  • Appendix 4 Completed questionnaires received
  • Appendix 5 Key informant interviews
  • Appendix 6 Template informing the design and implementation of a migrant welfare programme for African countries of origin