United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) data indicates that there are approximately 281 million people living outside of their country of origin and they represent 3.6 percent of the global population. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that by mid-2020, the world’s population of forcibly displaced people and refugees surpassed 80 million. International migrants and the forcibly displaced have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to border closures, travel restrictions, unemployment, and xenophobia, racism, and stigmatization. They have been among the world’s most vulnerable persons to the pandemic and its socio-economic consequences.
This is the second of three JMHS papers on implementation of different aspects of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The papers have been produced by three think-tanks – the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in Manila, covering the Asia-Pacific region, the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) in Cape Town, and the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). This paper from SIHMA examines the prospects for implementation of the GCR in sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that, given increases in the number of forcibly displaced people in recent years, responses to refugee crises need to shift from a humanitarian system of “care and maintenance,” to more comprehensive and effective development responses. It discusses how best to promote a resilience-based development approach. It recognizes that many development initiatives that have been implemented or that still need to be implemented under the normative framework of the GCR and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), are subject to a multiyear planning and implementation cycle. Therefore, the article does not seek to evaluate their efficacy or measure their progress. Rather, it identifies key challenges and it highlights achievements and promising initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. It particularly focuses on implementation and rollout of the CRRF in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia in Africa.