SADC Officials Deliberate on Migration in the Southern Africa Region

Capacity Building, Integrated Border Management, Labour Migration

Swaziland – Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have agreed to strengthen regional and inter-ministerial cooperation in tackling migration management challenges. Senior Officials meeting at the recently concluded 2017 Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) conference also recommended the formulation of a comprehensive Regional Migration Policy Framework.

The conference, hosted by the Government of Swaziland from 2-4 September and held in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, UNHCR, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UNICEF and Save the Children focused on the theme Addressing Mixed and Irregular Migration in Southern Africa: Linking Protection, Immigration, Border Management and Labour Migration.   

In a region which continues to witness increasing mixed migration flows, irregular migration is intertwined with a number of other related challenges including: limited options for legal channels of labour mobility; increase in human trafficking and smuggling; xenophobia, unaccompanied and separated migrant children; protection of vulnerable migrants, statelessness, detention of children and limited capacities to effectively manage porous borders.  

The complexity of cross-border human mobility across the Southern Africa Region is increasingly making governments and member states question whether existing approaches and strategies to migration and border management, immigration and refugee policies are adequate to address such complex and mixed migratory flows across their borders. 

IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa, Charles Kwenin, noted: “In the last 16 years, MIDSA has contributed to shaping the migration discourse in the region which has resulted into concrete outcomes, such as the adoption of various regional frameworks, including the Regional Action Plan on Mixed and Irregular Migration as well as the SADC Labour Migration Action Plan.” 

The 2017 MIDSA also provided SADC member states with a platform to share regional perspectives on the draft Outcome document towards an African Common Position as Africa’s inputs and contribute to the Global Compact on Migration which intends to provide a range of principles, commitments and understandings among governments regarding international migration in all its dimensions, including the humanitarian, developmental and human rights aspects of the phenomenon.  

These efforts are in line with the Sustainable Development targets which governments globally have set for themselves to ensure safe, regular and responsible migration. 

MIDSA is supported by the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the government of the Republic of South Africa with the overall objective of facilitating inter-state dialogue on migration in the Southern African region in an informal and non-binding setting.

For more information, please contact Sikhulile Dhlamini, IOM Botswana at Tel: +267 77866993, Email:


  • Senior officials meeting at the recently concluded 2017 Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) conference. Photo: IOM 2017