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16 Sep 2020

Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean - Chapter 1

Migration measurement along the Central Mediterranean Route: sources of data
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This chapter inventories the state of knowledge on international migration from, to and through each of the 12 countries of the Central Mediterranean Route (CMR), with a focus on the last two decades. What national statistics tell us  bout numbers and profiles of international migrants in West Africa and the Maghreb, whether they are bound for Europe or not, is its core question. Migration data in North and West Africa primarily come from population censuses. Censuses provide a relatively detailed picture of immigrant and, in some cases, emigrant stocks, but little or nothing on migrant flows. Moreover, they hardly contain any information about the legal status of migrants, their working and living conditions, strategies, needs and vulnerabilities. Key findings emerge from this review: Maghreb countries are mainly migrant senders, with Europe as an overwhelming destination. Libya, which remains a destination and transit country, is an exception. By contrast, West African States are at the same time migrant senders and receivers, with a salient pattern of intraregional circular migration. Côte d’Ivoire stands out as a magnet for labour migrants originating from the whole of West Africa and beyond. Key recommendations include efforts to further develop administrative sources of data, which are the only means to continuously monitor migratory movements as well as migrants’ characteristics, and the continuation of operational data collection systems, such as the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism initiative (4Mi), to inform about the circulation of people and their lived situations.