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Discuss migration in Africa

      

Discuss migration in Africa

  

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Francis
There have been many movements of population within the African continent, from outside into the continent and from the continent outward. The major movement within the continent in historic times has been that of the Bantu-speaking peoples, who, as a result of a population explosion that is not fully understood, spread over most of the continent.
The major movements into the continent in the past few centuries have been of European settlers into northern Africa and of European and Asian settlers in Southern Africa. The Dutch migrations into Southern Africa began in the mid-17th century. Originally settling on the coast, the Dutch—or Boers—later moved inland to the Highveld region, where a series of military conflicts occurred between them and the Bantu speakers in the 19th century. Other European settlement took place mainly in the 19th century: the British particularly in what is now KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa but also inland in what are now Zambia and Zimbabwe and in the East African highlands, the Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique, and the Germans in what is now Namibia.
The presence of large settler populations delayed the achievement of self-government by the African peoples of South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique and resulted in much bitterness between the indigenous peoples and settlers. In North Africa, by contrast, where the extensive settlement of Europeans from France, Italy, and Spain occurred, the growth of Arab nationalism and the emergence of independent states such as Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia led to the return of between one and two million colonists to their homelands in the late 1950s and early 1960s and to the political dominance of the indigenous peoples.
The greatest outward movement of people was that of Africans—particularly from western Africa and, to a lesser extent, Angola—to the Americas and the Caribbean during the period of the slave trade from the 16th to the 19th century. (For further discussion of this phenomenon, see slavery.) Earlier estimates that between 15 and 20 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic have been revised to a figure of 10 million, which appears more realistic. While their contribution to the development of the New World was of crucial importance, the effect of the loss of manpower to the African continent was considerable and has yet to be satisfactorily analyzed. The slave trade was also active on the east coast of Africa, where it was centred on the island of Zanzibar.
There were few permanent population movements in Africa during the 20th century, although an extensive settlement of Hausa from northern Nigeria took place in what is now Sudan. Warfare produced some significant population displacements, usually of minority groups fleeing the dominant majority. In 1966 the Igbo people of northern Nigeria, for example, returned en masse to their homeland in eastern Nigeria, the number of refugees being estimated at more than 500,000. The conflicts in the Horn of Africa since the 1960s have caused similar displacements. Indeed, Africa has millions of refugees. These refugees are among the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, and their numbers are substantially augmented by those fleeing drought and famine. The countries to which these people flee often find it extremely difficult to cope with them.
Most movement occurs across uncontrolled borders and between people of the same tribal groups. Much is seasonal, in any case, and is restricted to migrant labourers and nomadic herdsmen. Controlled immigration and emigration are generally negligible; contemporary examples, however, include the employment of mine workers in South Africa, the forced emigration of Asians from East Africa, and the expulsion of people from neighboring western African states caused by such actions as the enforcement of the Alien Compliance Order of 1969 in Ghana.
The major cause of voluntary movement of populations between and within national borders in recent years is rooted in the initial and growing disparity in development between and among states. The causes and consequences of such movement have economic, political, social and demographic dimensions (Heisel, 1982). Migration, by its very nature, involves at least three major actors: the migrant, the area or country of origin and the area or country of destination. While internal migration, in principle, implies movement of people within a geographically defined territory unrestricted by legal constraints, an international migrant is invariably confronted with a series of-sometimes complex -- regulations relating, at first, to exit from the country of origin, and later, entry into, residence within, and exit from the receiving country.
In Africa, as elsewhere in the developing regions, the historical evolution and stages of political development are crucial to an understanding of migration in general, the distinction and linkages between internal and international migration, their causes and policy issues. Of particular relevance in the African context are the effects of the demarcation of national boundaries, the emergence, since the early 1960s, of independent nation-states and especially the setting up of regulations governing immigration. These have introduced a subtle distinction between internal and international migration both of which once involved free movement across wide areas of Africa and, in the case of international migration, between legal and illegal immigrants.
francis1897 answered the question on January 12, 2023 at 08:44


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