Migration and inequality: the African migrant and access to public services

Christal O. Spel (University of South Africa)
Chris Nshimbi (Centre for Study of Governance Innovation)
Politics and International Relations
Appleton Tower, Room M1
Session slots:
Thursday 13 June, 10:45 - 12:30

Short abstract:

This panel examines migration and inequality in Africa and the level of migrants' access to public services from a regional perspective . It focuses on national political forces, experiences of disconnected migrants and private providers of alternative but ordinarily public services.

Long abstract:

Geiger and Pecoud (2010) declare 'international migration management has become a popular catchphrase for a wide range of initiatives that aim at renewing the policies pertaining to the cross-border movements of people". In contemporary Africa, such initiatives are directed at curbing the in-flow of 'undesired' migrants, as well as disconnecting and disrupting access to public services to immigrants through carefully crafted regulations. In this context, documented and undocumented migrants adopt and develop alternative or informal initiatives to access such services or provide them themselves. However, economic and political forces of integration are regionally connecting African countries to each other and promoting mobility within the continent. In this vein, the migrants negotiate unequal access to public services in pursuit of their wellbeing in a regional context characterised by connections and disruptions. Against this backdrop, this panel seeks to examine migration and inequality in Africa from three perspectives: 1. Experiences of African migrants that purchase alternative, or informally gain access to, such services. 2. Whether and how private providers of alternative services influence the connection or disconnection of African migrants to/from accessing public services in host countries. 3. The future of political forces that are driving the connection or disconnection of African migrants from accessing such services in the context of regional integration. Papers in the panel will examine these issues from health, education, livelihood, housing,among other social perspectives.