Accurate and disaggregated data critical for evidence-based policies: launch of Africa Migration Data Network.


The African Union in collaboration with international partners has launched the Africa Migration Data Network (AfMDN) to strengthen the coordination and sharing of knowledge for the effective production of quality migration statistics in Africa. The network will also serve as a framework for advocacy for mobilization of financial resources for the production of migration statistics, in particular the conduct of specific surveys on migration. Migration data and statistics remain an essential component for good migration governance, underscoring the importance of quality, accessible, disaggregated, reliable and timely data to inform actions, public opinion and evidence-based policies.

This network will provide the African Union with a framework for discussion, coordination, communication and collaboration between AU Member States as well as Regional Economic Communities and partners to share challenges, good practices and lessons learnt on migration data and Statistics in addition to dissemination and share information related to initiatives, declarations and decisions taken at regional, continental and global level on migration data and define standards and methodologies on migration statistics. The establishment of the Africa Migration Data Network by the African Union Commission is in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC); Statistics Sweden (SCB), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The African Union development blueprint Agenda 2063, recognizes the positive contribution of free movement of individuals for inclusive and sustainable development and have called attention to the urgent need to improve data on migration. For instance, the African Union action plan for the period 2018–2027 recognizes that migration data is “key to mainstreaming migration into policy and planning frameworks and development initiatives, and essential for developing, effective, evidence-based migration policies”.

The recent Africa Migration Report 2020 shows that most countries collect some data on labour migration (97%), remittances (64%), human trafficking/migrant smuggling (69%) and refugees and asylum seekers (84%). But such data may not be collected on a regular basis or may be collected by different entities or agencies, using varying methodologies. Therefore, there is need for better synergy for quality migration data that is relevant, responsive and robust in terms of methodology, harmonisation and coverage to ensure that all aspects of migration are covered and that no one is left behind.

The revised AU Migration Policy Framework for Africa and its Action Plan (2018–2030) emphasize the continuing need for systematic and comprehensive migration data gathering, analysis and exchange on all aspects of migration, both within and between African States. Such priorities are also highlighted in other initiatives at the regional and national levels. The establishment of the African Migration Data Network which will over time enable African countries to produce quality migration statistics which tell the story of human movement in their country and how its benefits are being used to uplift the continent.

Migration is not just a demographic phenomenon but a developmental one and is the driving force behind the economic development in many regions of Africa. Although in recent years, Africa has made tremendous progress on the production of statistics, enormous efforts need to be made for the production and harmonization of quality statistics in Africa. A Specialized Technical Group (STG) on migration is one of the 18 STGs under the Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA2) and it aims to ensure the production and harmonization of statistics on migration in Africa. This SHaSA - STG on Migration constitutes a framework at the continental level, to discuss the challenges faced by African Union Member States in the production of statistics on migration and brings together experts from 18 African Union Member States to discuss on methodologies on migration statistics in Africa for its validation.

In 2009, the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the Decision on the African Charter on Statistics as a regulatory framework for statistics development in the Continent thereby, recognizing the importance of the establishment of the African Union Institute for Statistics and the role it would play in promoting the production of official statistics of the African Union mainly by collecting, harmonizing and aggregating data published by the National Statistics Offices/Institutes of African countries in order to shed light on the decisions of African institutions and educate African citizens accordingly. The African Union Institute for Statics (STATAFRIC) established in 2013 and based in the Republic of Tunisia is mandated to lead in the provision and promotion of harmonised quality statistical information and good practice in support and monitoring of the implementation of the African Integration and Development Agenda.

The objectives of STATAFRIC are to:

 Provide the statistical information needed to design, implement, monitor and evaluate African policies;
 Develop and promote standards, methods and procedures that allow the cost effective production and dissemination of harmonized, comparable and reliable statistics throughout the AU and beyond;
 Promote the production of official statistics of the African Union mainly by collecting, gathering, harmonizing and aggregating data published by the NSO/NSI of AU Member States for a better knowledge of Africa’s social, financial, economic and demographic situation;
 Steer the African Statistics System, develop standards and procedures, strengthen cooperation among its partners, build capacity and ensure its leading role in official statistics world-wide.