Implications of COVID-19 on East Africa–EU Partnership on Migration and Forced Displacement

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the current state and prospects of partnership between the East African countries and the European Union on migration and forced displacement. The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of migration and forced displacement. This is manifested by the continuation of irregular arrivals in Europe including from East Africa, after a brief decline in the initial phase of the COVID-19 response. The strong economic impact of the pandemic on the region has also disrupted the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees that aspires to address forced displacement challenges through facilitating refugees’ self-reliance. These challenges require East African countries and the EU to work towards establishing a better migration governance system with a people-centred approach and with a view to addressing the root causes of migration. East African states should drive their migration and forced displacement policies in ways that benefit their citizens. This should include devising ways of engaging the EU in line with its proposed talent partnerships in its New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The EU should work towards easing the economic burden of countries in East Africa including through providing additional development support and debt cancellation.

Paper prepared in the framework of the project “A New European Consensus on Asylum & Migration”.

Rome, IAI, March 2021, 22 p.
Publication date: 

1. Migration and Forced Displacement in East Africa: Trends, drivers and policy frameworks
2. Cooperation between East African countries and the EU on migration and forced displacement
3. Impact of COVID-19 on East African countries and EU partnership on migration and forced displacement
3.1 Root causes exacerbated
3.1.1 Economic contraction
3.1.2 Impact on conflict dynamics and peace processes
3.1.3 Exacerbation of goverance challenges
3.2 GCR implementation disrupted
3.3 Irregular arrivals in Europe continue

Related content: 

Research area