In recent years, emigration has risen dramatically from Ethiopia, and the country is also a central hub for migrants traveling across the Horn of Africa. However, there have continued to be major crises leading to new outflows of refugees, including political repression and ethnic violence in the early 1990s and 2000s, the border dispute with Eritrea from 1998 to 2000, and post-election violence in 2005. As a result, the government implicitly saw the diaspora as opponents or potential threats, and expatriate Ethiopians meanwhile often remained skeptical about investing their savings, skills, and knowledge acquired abroad. In particular, while in detention, many migrants reportedly had no or limited access to water, toilets, food, or privacy. Since Abiys election, many Ethiopians abroad have shown support by sending remittances through the banking system, lobbying Western powers to back the government, organizing demonstrations abroad, and supporting projects such as the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and a large-scale tree-planting initiative.
Available online. Having never been colonized, Ethiopia does not share these ties with either African or European countries, and so migration patterns do not follow a well-defined route. Adepoju, Aderanti. 2013. Ethiopians living abroad were regarded as development partners in the 2011-2015 Growth and Transformation Plan, which referred to them as an opportunity to attain development goals. Ethiopia had been ruled by successive emperors until Haile Selassie was overthrown by a Marxist military junta called the Derg in 1974. Comparatively, the number of refugees and asylum seekers was negligible, as the country was generally stable despite the emperors political repression and limited freedom. 2021.
The route chosen by migrants will depend on their income, social status, migration history, and international connections; those with the least alternatives generally choose the most dangerous journeys. For many years under the TPLF, however, the driving motivation behind Ethiopias diaspora policies was political, rather than development-focused, and did not clearly recognize the diasporas diversity. De Regt, Marina and Medareshaw Tafesse. Figure 3. Are the Characteristics and Scope of African Migration Outside of the Continent Changing? N.d. 1990. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 14 (2/3): 381-96. Jonathan Baker and Tade Akin Aina. From Yemen, many migrants are smuggled into Saudi Arabia. 2019. Available online. Members of the diaspora tended to support opposition parties, most clearly during and after the contested 2005 election which led to large-scale unrest and crackdowns by police. In 2017, an estimated 500,000 Ethiopian migrants lived without status in Saudi Arabia alone. Sub-Saharan African Immigrants in the United States, Strengthening Refugee Protection in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Select Diaspora Populations in the United States. Deep concern for thousands of Eritrean refugees scattered in Ethiopias Tigray, Tigray: Eritrean refugees scared and struggling to eat amid aid obstacles, Two children killed in airstrike on Tigray refugee camp, Ethiopia in 'much better place' to resolve Tigray conflict: Mohammed, Ethiopia: UNHCR rushing aid to 20,000 refugees fleeing clashes. Available online.
Between 1941 and 1974, an estimated 20,000 Ethiopians departed overseas as students and diplomats. 2009.
Notably, there is evidence suggesting the emperor was keen to modernize Ethiopia through expanding education.
Partly for this reason, migration outside the region has been a recent relatively phenomenon, with emigration growing in the 20th century amid domestic repression, humanitarian crises, and attractive labor opportunities abroad. Reintegration Strategies. Migrations Role in Ethiopian Development Policy. In 2021, members of the diaspora contributed tens of millions more for the military, to support rehabilitation efforts in Tigray, and other projects, according to Selamawit Dawit, the director-general of the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency. Ethiopian Herald, July 6, 2021. 1275 K St. NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005 | ph.
Youths from southern Ethiopia often take this route, particularly young men from the Hadiya and Kembaata ethnic groups with little or no education. 202-266-1940 | fax. Corruption especially among law enforcement helps support the transnational smuggling business. Scaling Up Formal Remittances in Ethiopia. Social Science & Medicine 30 (6): 643-56. 202-266-1900, Once Primarily an Origin for Refugees, Ethiopia Experiences Evolving Migration Patterns, IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Latin America & Caribbean Migration Portal, Illegal Immigration & Interior Enforcement, From Fear to Solidarity: The Difficulty in Shifting Public Narratives about Refugees, Beyond Regional Circularity: The Emergence of an Ethiopian Diaspora, On the Move in a War Zone: Mixed Migration Flows to and through Yemen. The country is known for its historical resistance to colonialism, including to Western powers in the 19th century, and was only briefly occupied by Italian forces before World War II.
Girmachew Adugna is Program Manager at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Flight and Migration Competence Center, in Addis Ababa. The governments Qey Shibir campaign was launched in response, and the civil war lasted until the Dergs collapse in 1991. Chacko, Elizabeth and Peter H. Gebre. For instance, Ethiopia has in recent years experienced a significant migration of health-care professionals, and there were more Ethiopian doctors working in Chicago in 2012 than in all of Ethiopia, according to the health minister at the time. The Abiy era has prompted some reforms for Ethiopians abroad, particularly in the financial and banking sector. 2017. 2016. The change of government in 1991 allowed for the return of more than 970,000 Ethiopian refugees from neighboring countries. Migration and remittances have had significant positive impacts, but they can also foster dependency, family disputes, and corruption.
Many of these refugees returned, and subsequent migration has been more complex in terms of the drivers, individuals who migrate, and countries of destination. 2012. ---. Dissertation submitted for the degree of Master of Laws at the University of South Africa, Pretoria, August 2017. Government efforts led to the development of a comprehensive diaspora policy in 2013 which for the first time promised voting rights for nationals living abroad and roles as election observers.
While the number of people forcibly displaced has been much lower than in previous years, some scholars have argued that the overthrow of the Derg regime did not bring more equality and less repression. Eritrean refugees in the Afar region of Ethiopia receive emergency assistance. Available online. Geneva: International Organization for Migration. Frouws, Bram and Christopher Horwood. ---.
Ethiopia has witnessed major droughts and famines since the mid-1960s, which were often met by compulsory internal resettlement and so-called villagization land reform programs that relocated rural communities into villages. Available online. Common Migration Routes from Ethiopia. 1997. Ethiopia is one of the 15 pilot countries to implement the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), a global shared commitment to improving the lives of refugees and host communities in a coordinated way. At the same time, Ethiopia has developed into a major transit point through and out of the Horn of Africa, particularly for migrants from Eritrea and Somalia. In 2021, amid the conflict involving regional militants, two refugee camps in the northern Tigray region hosting mostly Eritrean refugees were closed, and human-rights advocates have reported that Tigrayan and Eritrean forces committed horrific abuses against those camps residents. Yemen has been an important transit and destination country for Horn of Africa migrants traveling the eastern route, a role that has continued even during the countrys civil war that started in late 2014. News release, July 29, 2021. Kaplan, Steven. RMMS Briefing Paper No. Available online. In 2020, Sudan was the fourth largest destination for Ethiopian migrants, and Libya had also been a common destination for migrants until the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Political Violence and Democratic Uncertainty in Ethiopia. Conflict, Security & Development 7 (4): 529-49. Transforming Ethiopias Health Care System from the Ground Up. Accessed September 24, 2021. Kuschminder, Katie. Understanding the Forced Repatriation of Ethiopian Migrant Workers from the Middle East. Comparative Migration Studies 7 (1): 1-28. Two months later, the government executed dozens of political opponents, marking the start of a new emigration wave. , Receive daily updates directly in your inbox -. Diaspora engagement has increasingly been a focus of the government, and ongoing attention to the growing power of emigrants and their descendants could be transformative for Ethiopias future. Refugees Deeply, April 24, 2017. All rights reserved. Nearly one-third of Ethiopians who resided in countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had more than a high school education as of 2015 and 2016. ---.
Notably, large-scale international emigration from Ethiopia has tended to occur during periods of political repression and changes of government. Conflict-Generated Diasporas and Transnational Politics in Ethiopia. Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East have been top destinations for Ethiopians looking for economic opportunity. Returns have continued, and an additional 415,000 Ethiopians were returned from Saudi Arabia between November 2017 and July 2021, according to the Ethiopian government. The Dergs time in power was characterized by war with internal rebel groups that evolved around the time the regime seized control, many of them seeking liberation of regional states such as Eritrea. Most of these refugees went to neighboring states, mainly Sudan and Kenya, and many were eventually resettled in Western countries, notably the United States, Europe, and Australia. Ethiopia: Diaspora Contributing Tremendously in the Financial Sector. Available online. Available online. However, growing xenophobia in South Africa and throttling efforts by transit states such as Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi have reduced the numbers of migrants traveling along this route since 2015. (Photo: Nena Terrell/USAID Ethiopia). However, the government has historically faced challenges reintegrating returnees into the labor market and their communities, as well as reunifying them with their families. In addition to this humanitarian migration, student migration to socialist countries such as Cuba, the former Soviet Union, and East Germany was also common during the Derg regime. Available online. Ezra, Markos. Foreign nationals in the diaspora are now able to invest and lend money in Ethiopia.
Tilahun, Tsegaye. Irregular migration to South Africa requires crossing several countries and entails high risk, including physical and emotional stress, possibility of imprisonment, deportation, or even death. UNU-Merit Working Paper No. Terrazas, Aaron Matteo. Hostilities must cease and humanitarian access must be provided so that we can be there and help the people who have urgent needs., On the last day of afive-daytrip to Ethiopia, theDeputy Secretary-Generalsaid theEast African nationis in a much better place to resolve the conflict thaterupted15 months agoin Tigray., UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and partners are rushing life-saving aid to more than 20,000 refugees after they fled clashes in Ethiopias Benishangul Gumuz region, bordering Sudan and South Sudan. Humanitarian Migrants Residing in Ethiopia, 1970-2020. Deported Before Experiencing the Good Sides of Migration: Ethiopians Returning from Saudi Arabia. Kuschminder, Katie and Melissa Siegel. Both conflicts led to large-scale humanitarian displacement, both internally and internationally.
Yet the funds made available by international partners have not been adequate to carry out many programs, especially initiatives to promote self-reliance. His governments political reforms have mostly been embraced by diaspora members, who have increasingly engaged in Ethiopias economic and political spheres. Available online. These offices have been charged with working with the diaspora and ensuring their issues are integrated in development projects.
2014. Find research on sub-Saharan African migration all in one place. Understanding Ethiopian Diaspora Engagement Policy. Tama Galut Etiopiya: The Ethiopian Exile Is Over. The country has suffered extreme political turmoil, recurrent drought, famine, and devastating civil war. Sturge, Georgina and Nassim Majidi.
Kanko, Teshome D., Ajay Bailey, and Charles H. Teller. Response to Internal Displacement in Ethiopia: January to June 2021. Ethiopia and Somalia are major source countries, with Ethiopians accounting for an estimated two-thirds of travelers. Dissertation submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia, May 2014. Ethiopia has over the last decade signed bilateral labor agreements with Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to increase legal migration, which benefitted legally present Ethiopian migrants but also sped up returns for those who were unauthorized. The card entitles holders to enjoy all privileges offered to Ethiopians abroad, including the right to enter the country without a visa.
2014. At the peak in 1980, well more than 2.5 million Ethiopians were living as refugees or other forcibly displaced migrants (see Figure 1). While still a source of a considerable number of refugees, Ethiopia is also the origin for large numbers of labor migrants in both low- and high-skill sectors, and increasingly playing a pivotal role in regional migration through Africa. Evidence demonstrates that remigration is often the result of lack of effective reintegration. Huge monetary investments are required to implement the CRRF.
Geneva: UNHCR and Danish Refugee Council. In The Migration Experience in Africa, eds. Ethiopia has an advanced regime for the protection of forced migrants and hosts approximately 789,000 refugees, most of them residing in 24 camps across the country. The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Press Briefing Summary. It intensified due to poverty in Ethiopia, migrants expanded social networks, the growth of recruitment agencies both legal and illegal, the relative fall of migration costs, and high demand for domestic work in destination countries such as Saudi Arabia. United Nations Population Division. Harvard T.H. The bulk of labor migration from Ethiopia is for low-skilled work, however the departure of skilled migrants to Western countries and other emerging economies in Africa is on the rise. Migrants expelled from Saudi Arabia have returned with complex economic and psychosocial problems; many were victims of trafficking, reported harsh treatment, and have lost most or all their belongings. However, the rollout of livelihood and job-creation schemes has been slower, due in part to lack of funding, poor coordination frameworks, and absence of grassroots stakeholder participation. ---. A woman and her child in southern Ethiopia. 2020. International Migrant Stock 2020: Destination and Origin. This concern heightened following the massive forced repatriation of irregular Ethiopian migrants from Saudi Arabia in 2013 and 2014, during which approximately 170,000 Ethiopians were deported. At a briefing for journalists in Geneva, a spokesperson the UN agency said that unidentified assailants targeted Barahle camp on 3 February after fighting engulfed the area, according to harrowing accounts provided by refugees. This followed the governments formation in 2002 of the Ethiopian Expatriate Affairs General Directorate, which has since been replaced by the Diaspora Engagement Affairs General Directorate, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2016. Figure 2. Usd From Remittance.
Available online. Indeed, the diaspora played an important role in bringing about political reform in Ethiopia by mobilizing activity online and working with reformist leaders. However, hundreds of thousands of migrants have been returned from the region, often after being detained for immigration offenses. It is now one of the largest refugee-hosting nations in the world, and the third largest in Africa. A chain of smugglers facilitates movements often from Hosanna, the capital of southern Ethiopias Hadiya Zone, and Nairobi. Large numbers of migrants particularly from elsewhere in the Horn of Africa also pass through Ethiopia on their way towards Europe or other common destinations. In recent decades, economic factors have been the most common drivers of migration from Ethiopia, followed by political reasons including oppression, insecurity, and ethnic tensions. Sitting at the nexus of the Horn and East Africa, Ethiopia is pivotal for migrants from across the region aiming to reach Europe and other northern destinations.
Migrants from and traveling through Ethiopia tend to travel along three major migration corridors: eastward to the Persian Gulf states and the Middle East, crossing the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden; southward to South Africa; and northward across the Sahara, into Sudan and often to Europe.
Ethiopia has a longstanding tradition of hospitality to forced migrants, dating back to the 7th century when the Abyssinian king, Negash, provided sanctuary to Muslim converts facing persecution in Mecca. Although its humanitarian migrant numbers are a fraction of what they were in the 20th century, Ethiopia remains one of the continents largest countries of origin for refugees and asylum seekers, with an estimated 280,000 Ethiopians living in this status as of 2020. Adugna, Girmachew. Available online. Protecting Eritrean Refugees' Access to Basic Human Rights in Ethiopia: An Analysis of Ethiopian Refugee Law. That alert came after air strikes in and near the camps of Mai Aini and Adi Harush, home to more than 25,000 refugees. Available online. Irregular Migration: Causes and Consequences of Young Adult Migration from Southern Ethiopia to South Africa. To maximize the benefits, local and regional governments could design strategies to further channel funds into investment and reduce the negative impacts, while the national government could take steps to improve the money transfer market and support mobile money transfer technologies. Note: Data refer to the number of refugees under UNHCR protection, asylum seekers, and others of concern to UNHCR as of the end of the year.Source: UNHCR, Refugee Data Finder, accessed September 13, 2021, available online. 2005. Available online. Available online. Recently, Ethiopia has also confronted significant involuntary repatriation of its emigrants, mainly from prominent destinations in the Middle East; this situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Return migration to Ethiopia has increased over recent years, often involuntarily as larger numbers of migrants have traveled irregularly to find work and as migration policies in destination countries such as Saudi Arabia have become more restrictive. In the absence of colonial linkages, the destinations of Ethiopian emigrants can be explained by a combination of factors including geographic proximity, migrant networks, destination countries policies, and other historical links. Ethiopian Herald, August 6, 2021. Mubanga, Christopher Kapangalwendo. Chan School of Public Health, August 29, 2012. In 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the number of arrivals in Yemen declined to 37,500. Refugees who trekked the long distance to the regional capital in Semera told UNHCR staff that armed men entered the camp on 3 February, stole their belongings and occupied their homes, said Boris Cheshirkov, speaking on behalf of UNHCR. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. 2017. Migration in Africa: An Overview. Others are also believed to have fled towards the towns of Altefa and Dabure, which is further inland.. Seven of these pilot countries are in Africa. Leveraging the Diaspora for Development: Lessons from Ethiopia. In response to a rash of forced returns and complaints of abuse abroad, the government in 2013 banned Ethiopians from traveling to the Middle East.
Flows have surged dramatically over the last two decades: the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency revealed that even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ocial remittances in fiscal year (FY) 2021 reached U.S. $3.6 billion, up from U.S. $104 million in FY 2000. These successive waves contributed to the emergence and development of the Ethiopian diaspora mostly in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. There have been at least three distinct waves: before the 1974 revolution, when small numbers of elites migrated to Western countries to obtain training and higher education; under the military government and during the Qey Shibir (Red Terror) from 1974 to 1991; and in the post-Derg period, during which large numbers of refugees returned to Ethiopia and yet intermittent ethnic violence, political repression, and the lure of economic opportunity prompted more departures. Geneva: Mixed Migration Centre. Many returnees have received immediate humanitarian assistance from the government and aid groups, including health care, shelter, and transportation. Often, returnees may migrate again, even if their first experience was not a positive one. 202-266-1940 | fax. Genus 59 (3): 63-91. ---. For instance, since the 1980s tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews have been brought to Israel directly from Addis Ababa and Sudanese refugee camps with the help of the Israeli government. 2021.
More than 60,000 refugees fled the conflict, mainly from Tigray, in what has been the largest refugee outflow from Ethiopia in decades, with most heading to Sudan. Ethiopian Emigrants by Country of Residence, 2020. Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. A joint investigation by the UN human rights office (OHCHR), and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in November 2021, highlighted how Tigrayan and national Ethiopian fighters had put the security and lives of thousands at risk in Shimelba camp, between November 2020 and January 2021. Isaac, Leon. 2017. Health Aspects of Resettlement in Ethiopia. 202-266-1900. Figure 1. Consequently, the number of people from the Horn of Africa arriving in Europe decreased from more than 30,000 in 2016 to fewer than 4,000 in 2018. 2021. Available online. Roeder, Amy. Migration Data Brief No. The Emerging Crisis: Is Famine Returning as a Major Driver of Migration? Forced Migrants from Ethiopia, 1970-2020. Migration Information Source, June 1, 2007. This migration began in the early 1990s, partly in response to the end of apartheid as well as turbulence in Ethiopia and migrants growing social networks, and it has increased since. Andargachew, Ephrem. During the conflict, which overlapped with the mid-1980s famine, well more than 1 million people were estimated to have died. 2018. Interestingly, the rate of return of Western-educated migrants during this period was reportedly high, often because these returnees came back to fill important government positions. The actual amount of money remitted is estimated to be much larger, since informal transfers, which are estimated to be sizable in Ethiopia, are not captured in ocial data. Horwood, Christopher. Environmental Vulnerability, Rural Poverty, and Migration in Ethiopia: A Contextual Analysis.
Socioeconomic, environmental, and political crises in Ethiopia over the last 50 years have led to a major migration of people, both internally and across borders. Smith, Lahra. Following the attack in Afar, over 4,000 refugees reached Semera, where UNHCR together with the Ethiopian Refugees and Returnees Service and other partners are providing immediate support with shelter, relief items, food as well as clean water, said Mr. Cheshirkov. Available online. Migrants from Ethiopia tend to use the northern route only in rare cases, but it is more commonly traversed by Eritrean and Somali nationals who travel through Ethiopia. Working Paper No. In 2020, the top destinations for Ethiopian migrants were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Sudan, and South Africa (see Table 1).