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      Shifts in the Trend and Nature of Migration in the Ethiopia-South Africa Migration Corridor



            Over the past 25 years a significant (but unknown) number of migrants from Ethiopia have been migrating to South Africa through the “southern route.” This male-dominated migration is becoming more and more irregular and includes multiple transit countries, largely controlled by human smugglers. The size of the Ethiopian immigrant population in South Africa has increased. The profile of individuals on the move has also changed in terms of migrants’ age, ethnicity, place of origin, gender and socioeconomic status. Youth from rural areas have joined the migration trail, and, increasingly, women are migrating for marriage in South Africa. Today, migrants from southern Ethiopia (Hadiya and Kambata) dominate Ethiopian migration to South Africa. The age and socioeconomic status of the migrants have also changed where teenagers, college graduates and civil servants are entering the migration stream in recent years. Equally changing is the nature and operation of the smuggling and settlement processes. Like the broader field of migration studies in which source and destination countries receive the overwhelming focus, the multiple transit countries Ethiopians on the move to South Africa travel through, and the migration journeys themselves, have not received adequate research attention. The effects these journeys have on the settlement processes are also largely ignored. This article, therefore, explores these emerging patterns with a view to understanding the inequalities faced by Ethiopian migrants on their journey to South Africa and the factors behind it. With the intensification of border closures due to multiple factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, we examine the shift in the nature and trend of smuggling and how it is reflected in inequalities experienced by Ethiopian migrants in South Africa.


            Author and article information

            Zanj: The Journal of Critical Global South Studies
            14 June 2022
            : 5
            : 1/2
            : 59-75
            [1 ] University of Cape Town
            Author information

            Published under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International ( CC BY 4.0). Users are allowed to share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially), as long as the authors and the publisher are explicitly identified and properly acknowledged as the original source.


            Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
            Economic development,Political science,General social science,Development studies,Cultural studies,Urban, Rural & Regional economics
            Global South,migration,South Africa,Ethiopia,Covid-19,pandemic,development theory,economic development,immigrant,inequalities


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