Migration and mobility

The ‘migration and mobility’ strand of the MME Partnership aims to provide comprehensive responses to migration, in the interest of all partners, with a particular focus on facilitating mobility and free movement of people in Africa and with the EU, on better managing legal migration between the two continents, addressing the root causes of migration and refugee flows, ensuring fair treatment of all migrants under applicable international law, finding concrete solutions to problems posed by irregular migration flows and trafficking of human beings, and ensuring that migration and mobility work for development. All these orientations should be addressed in a balanced and comprehensive way.


Issues for dialogue
The term ‘migration’ can be understood as follows: “[…] the crossing of the boundary of a political or administrative unit for a certain minimum period of time. It includes the movement of refugees, displaced persons, uprooted people as well as economic migrants. Internal migration refers to a move from one area (a province, district or municipality) to another within one country. International migration is a territorial relocation of people between nation-states.” (UNESCO glossary)

The concept of ‘mobility’ in the framework of the partnership refers in particular to the free movement of people within Africa and the EU, and short-term travel, temporary or circular migration between Africa and the EU.
In the area of migration and mobility the agenda for dialogue is informed by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy agreed in Lisbon in December 2007, as well as the Declaration of the 2006 Tripoli Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development, and the Ouagadougou EU-Africa Plan of Action on Trafficking in Human Beings, especially Women and Children.


The 2011-2013 agenda for dialogue includes topics such as:

Political dialogue on human rights is increasing, and includes social, economic and cultural rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The partners exchange views on lessons learnt and best practices in implementing existing human rights instruments, as well as international humanitarian law instruments.

This dialogue also addresses issues related to the sex trade, sex tourism and cheap labour. The dialogue on visa issues will look at conditions and procedures for delivery of visas, and facilitating mobility for commercial, professional and study reasons.


The 2011-2013 Action Plan envisages a series of initiatives in the area of migration.

In the field of migration and development, two specific initiatives are intended to foster the contribution of the diaspora and remittances for development. (For more about the Diaspora Outreach initiative, the African Institute for Remittances and other migration and development related initiatives, click here.)

A specific initiative will target the fight against human trafficking. (More about the Human Trafficking initiative and other irregular migration-related initiatives here.)

Data collection is essential to develop and adapt policies in this area. Initiatives include the ACP Migration Observatory which will create a network of researchers and research centres to provide policy makers, civil society and the public with reliable, harmonised migration data.
Circular migration and mobility, as well as international protection are addressed through various inter-regional, national or bilateral initiatives. (More on regular migration and mobility-related initiatives here and asylum-related initiatives here.)

Further reading

Milestones in EU-African migration dialogue:

  • Rabat Action Plan, adopted at the Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development, held in Rabat (10-11 July 2006)
  • Joint Africa-EU Declaration on Migration and Development, adopted at the EU-Africa Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development, held in Tripoli (22-23 November 2006)
  • Joint EU-Africa Strategy and First Action Plan 2008-2010, both adopted at the Second Africa-EU Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lisbon (December 2007), which also saw the launch of the Africa-EU Migration, Mobility and Employment (MME) Partnership
  • Second Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development held in Paris (25 November 2008)
  • Second Action Plan 2011-2013, adopted at the Third Africa-EU Summit, Tripoli (29-30 November 2010)
  • Third Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development held in Dakar (23 November 2011)

AU/ EU legislation and policy documents:

AU policies include

EU strategies, action plans, Council conclusions, Commission Communications, adopted legislation and other background information are available in the European Commission documentation centre. See also:

Sources of information and data collection
The ACP Migration Observatory has gathered over 175 documents in a compendium covering data management, civil society, diasporas, remittances, health, labour migration, irregular migration, cross‐border movements, urbanisation, environmentally‐induced migration, mainstreaming and policy development, human trafficking, refugees and IDPs, gender, human rights, children, private sector and media.

In Africa, national migration profiles are currently being developed by State authorities with the support of international organisation and projects:

  • The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has developed migration profiles of West and Central African countries (2009).
  • The Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM) project is developing migration profiles for North Africa and neighbouring countries.

In Europe, the ‘Prominstat’ project compiles statistical information on migration, integration and discrimination in 27 European countries. Its website lists a series of useful statistical databases, including that of the EU statistics agency Eurostat which collects data on migration flows and migrant stocks and publishes harmonised statistics on asylum applications and decisions. The I-MAP project displays public information on migration routes and flows and detailed information to representatives of partner states and agencies in Europe and partner countries in Africa. The Prague Process has produced a Migration Profile Light for Germany.

Other sources of information besides academic institutions include the following UN bodies:

  • The United Nations Population Division has created the “Global Migration Database” which includes all publicly available tabulations on the international migrant stock as well as a “Trends in Total Migrant Stock database” with quinquennial estimates of the international migrant stock.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) compiles annual data on refugee stocks, flows, and characteristics.
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) has a Database on International Labour Migration Statistics.
  • The World Bank collects data on remittances. See the 2011 migration and remittances factbook.