Strengthening migration policy in the Horn of Africa

Project description

Title: Strengthening the Capacities of IGAD and its Member States to Support Regional Migration Policies in the Horn of Africa (SIMPI)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Supraregional, Ethiopia, Djibouti
Lead executing agency: Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
Overall term: 2018 to 2022

IGAD at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva


The Horn of Africa is characterised by a rule of law that is fragile and in some cases absent, internal and cross-border conflicts and natural disasters. In 2020, the region hosted 4.2 million refugees and 8.1 million internally displaced people. They were displaced by armed conflicts, individual persecution, serious human rights violations or natural disasters. 

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a regional organisation of states in the Horn of Africa that supports its members in their peacekeeping and integration efforts, among other goals. Its member states include Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan. The majority of the member states are simultaneously countries of origin, transit and reception of migrants and displaced people. These movements of migrants and refugees in the Horn of Africa mainly take place within the region itself, which is why regional migration policy plays such an important role

The political framework for regional migration policy is provided by two global agreements: the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Migration, which set out the principles of safe, orderly and regular migration. As a regional organisation, IGAD plays an important role in implementation of the agreements by its member states.

In 2012, IGAD was the first regional organisation on the continent to agree on a regional migration policy framework and a Migration Action Plan. As part of the Nairobi Process, the member states also adopted progressive frameworks for the inclusion of refugees in national education systems and labour markets – one pillar of the Global Compact on Refugees. With the signing of the 2020 Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, IGAD also laid the foundations for greater regional integration and implementation of the Global Compact for Migration.


The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) performs its tasks in the areas of migration and displacement more effectively.


The project supports IGAD in its efforts to offer lasting solutions for migrants and refugees, and focuses on three areas of action:

  1. Migration and displacement policy: The project advises the IGAD member states on the national implementation of international, continental and regional migration and displacement policies.
  2. Cross-border cooperation: The project supports cross-border cooperation work by IGAD in border regions along migration routes in the Horn of Africa and enables local authorities to improve basic services for migrants, refugees and host communities.
  3. Learning processes and data: The project is improving the prerequisites for recording lessons learned and data on migration and refugee issues in the region for use in political decision-making.


  • The Djibouti Declaration on Refugee Education and the respective 2017 action plan created a dynamic: with German support, several member states formulated national plans for fully integrating refugees into their education systems, raising the quality of education and promoting mutual recognition of qualifications in the region.
  • The project has commissioned Particip GmbH to provide further training for secondary school teachers. This is helping to provide higher-quality schooling and better prospects for further education and work for several hundred refugees and host communities in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.
  • In 2019, the IGAD member states adopted the Kampala Declaration. By doing so, the states committed to integrating refugees into the labour market. Among other things, this enables refugees to open a bank account, obtain a work permit and earn an income in their host country.
  • At the first Global Refugee Forum in Geneva in 2019, IGAD set up a regional support platform. IGAD is one of just three regions worldwide to have set up such a platform to implement the Global Compact on Refugees.
  • The project is currently developing an IGAD presence in Moyale/Moyale (Ethiopia/Kenya) and Metema/Galabat (Ethiopia/Sudan) to improve cross-border cooperation along northward and southward migration routes.
  • Meaningful and gender-disaggregated data is enabling the development of an evidence-based migration policy. The project, IGAD and its members states are working with international partners to set up a system for harmonising migration data, and to promote learning between member states.

Last update: May 2021


Further information