Promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration from and within the Horn of Africa

Project description

Programme title: Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme in the Horn of Africa
Commissioned by:German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
Countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda
Lead executing agency: British Council, Civipol, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In phase I, Expertise France and the Italian Department of Public Security were also implementing partners. GIZ heads the implementing partnership.
Overall term: 2016 to 2022


The countries in the Horn of Africa Region are the main places of origin, transit and destination for refugees and migrants from that region, who left their homes for various reasons. UNHCR estimates the number of refugees, asylum seeker, migrants, and internally displaced people in the Horn of Africa at around 15 million, thereof 5,7 million migrants (UN, 2019). According to IOM, 51 per cent of the migrants move within the region, followed by about 36 per cent who travel to Gulf States through the Eastern Route. Further routes are the Southern Route heading to South Africa and the Northern Route to the Maghreb region and Europe. Often out of necessity, many travel irregularly, meaning without a visa or valid papers and with the risky support of smugglers to facilitate their journey. Their vulnerability makes them easy targets to criminal networks and human traffickers who exploit human beings for purposes of profit. 

Migration is a very old phenomenon globally, but the lack of supportive migration friendly policies, legislations, infrastructure, regional and cross-border cooperation as well as knowledge continues to hamper efforts to manage safe and legal migration and to provide the necessary support and protection to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants.


The overall objective of the project is to enable national authorities and institutions to facilitate safe, orderly, and regular migration and effectively address and reduce trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa region by applying a human rights-based approach.


Activities are implemented in three interlocked components: migration governance, effective institutions to address trafficking and smuggling, and protection for vulnerable migrants. Here are examples of what has been and will be achieved:

Migration Governance

BMM contributes to regional migration governance in close coordination with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) by supporting the national governments in the formulation or improvement of national migration policies and frameworks for the management of migration. 

  • Support to the Kenya Institute of Migration Studies, established in phase I in Nairobi, as a regional centre of excellence for migration studies targeting officials from IGAD member states; 
  • Promoting cross-border cooperation to introduce legal and protected labour migration of Ethiopians to Sudan, with the aim of developing a model for bilateral labour agreements together with the AU, IGAD, and the East African Community (EAC);
  • Support to functional inter-institutional bodies at national and local level to coordinate whole-of-government responses to migration related issues. These National Coordination Mechanisms were established or reinstalled in phase I in most partner countries;
  • Assistance to governments in the development of national legislation on migration according to the relevant international conventions. Support is provided in particular to legislation on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, as well as to the regulation of the foreign recruitment sector, especially in Ethiopia and Uganda. 

Effective Institutions to address trafficking and smuggling

BMM improves the effectiveness of institutions implementing migration policies and legislation. The project aims to increase the quality of national and cross-border cooperation between law enforcement, judicial, and other state and non-state actors in order to address trafficking and smuggling effectively. 

  • Implementation of curricula and trainings for universities and other law enforcement training institutions to improve the quality of investigation and prosecution of trafficking and smuggling cases. The establishment or adaptation of standard procedures shall enhance the cooperation between police and prosecution.
  • Increase capacities and cooperation of first responders from the police, civil society organisations, border authorities, and immigration services to identify victims of trafficking, vulnerable and smuggled migrants and to refer them to relevant protection and assistance services. 
  • Support National Human Rights Institutions in addressing human rights violations of victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants, including through the creation of a regional platform for National Human Rights organisations.


BMM improves assistance to and the protection of victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants at local, national, and regional level. 

  • Support the Regional Civil Society Organisation Forum for Safe and Fair Migration with around 40 civil society organisations from the region, as well as national networks to increase cooperation and strengthen their role within the relevant referral mechanisms; 
  • Implementation of referral mechanisms for victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants to refer them to relevant protection facilities and services; 
  • Increase service provision and capacities such as medical and psychosocial care, child protection, and shelters through training and equipment; 
  • Increase access to information on services and legal migration to victims of trafficking, vulnerable migrants, and potential migrants;

Support the development of sustainable solutions for victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants in the host countries by engaging relevant private, public, and civil society actors to identify livelihood opportunities.

Results I (April 2016 – September 2020) 

16,800 representatives of state departments supported to improve the coordinated management of migration and to strengthen national migration policies, legislation and cross-border cooperation.

242 capacity building measures for 5,470 state and non-state actors implemented in the field of investigation and prosecution of human trafficking, integrated border management, and referral of migrants to services.

4,020 state and non-state representatives participated in activities to improve the services and the access to information for vulnerable migrants and victims of trafficking.

Potentially 16.2 million persons reached through public awareness raising activities on human trafficking and migrant rights.

18,200 vulnerable migrants through accommodation, basic services, medical support assisted (phase I only).

Latest update: October 2020

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Further Information


Programme Factsheet

Partner countries





South Sudan