Ep 2: Pan-Africanism and Intra-African Migration
Achieng Akena and Ibrahima Kane uncover the history of Pan-African ideas around migration and its as yet untapped radical potential.
As an idea, a rallying call and people’s movement, Pan-Africanism is integral to the history of political thought and mobilisation in Africa and its global diaspora. But what is its relevance to policymakers in the field of migration?
In this episode, Achieng Akena and Ibrahima Kane provide an historical perspective on the way in which Pan-Africanism solidarities and ideas have the potential to shape new approaches to mobility within Africa and beyond. They do so by surveying the ways in which Pan-Africanism has already catalysed key innovations in displacement governance since the 1960s, for instance, through the workings of the Organisation of African Unity, African Union, and regional organisations such as the West Africa bloc ECOWAS, which have developed legislation and policies to support refugees and internally-displaced persons. Then, assessing the significance of this history of cooperation, Akena and Kane consider the untapped potential of the African Union’s 2063 vision, an initiative proposing free movement of people which has the potential to transform Africa into an inclusive space of circulation that boosts African self-reliance and prosperity.
Achieng Akena is Executive Director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative in May 2019, bringing with her a wealth of experience and knowledge in strategic leadership, institutional resource management and advocacy networks in the UN and AU. A passionate and committed human rights and democracy advocate, Achieng has over 22 years’ experience in the promotion and protection of human rights of marginalised people and democratic governance across Africa. Prior to joining IRRI, she was Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens Participation in the African Union (CCPAU)/The Pan African Citizens Network (PACIN).
Ibrahima Kane heads the Africa Union Advocacy Program of the Open Society’s Africa Regional Office and is qualified as a lawyer in Senegal and France. Prior to joining the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa in 2007, he was a senior lawyer in charge of the Africa program at INTERIGHTS for 10 years. As a founding member of RADDHO, a Senegalese human rights organization, Kane directed a program that focused on public education and women’s human rights in five West African countries—Cape Verde, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and Senegal—for six years. Ibrahima has particular interest in economic, social, and cultural rights; women’s rights; and the pursuit of justice through regional and international mechanisms.
Achieng Akena and Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye (2022) “Pan-Africanism, regional integration and migration”, Chapter 8 of the Africa Migration Report: Challenging the Narrative, IOM.
Amanda Bisong (2022) “Labour mobility as a key element of the AfCFTA: What role for the AU’s free movement protocol?”: ECDPM https://ecdpm.org/work/labour-mobility-key-element-afcfta-role-au-free-movement-protocol
About Curated Conversations
The Curated Conversations: Exploring the Politics of Migration through Ideas (Season I) podcast series examines the past, present, and possible futures of migration within and from the African continent. It approaches migration with a critical and philosophical lens, drawing on the expertise of leading experts, thinkers, and practitioners in a series of in-depth interviews and discussions about migration histories and policy regimes. The geographical scope of the series is broad, with coverage spanning the length and breath of the continent in all its global connections. Experts from across Africa and its Euro-American diaspora are invited to share their knowledge, lived experience, and diverse perspectives on the interplay between borders and social phenomena.
Curated Conversations seeks to forge a new discussion around African migration in Europe and the West, but also within Africa itself: one that foregrounds African knowledge, lived experience, and political thought towards a humane and socially just order of mobility. The questions it asks include: What kind of ideas inform current migration policies in Africa? Where do they fall short, and what kinds of alternatives can we imagine?
Curated by Ali Nobil Ahmad and Linah Kinya, African Migration Hub, Heinrich Böll Foundation. Co-published by African Arguments and the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Horn of Africa Office. Produced in Nairobi by Amp Studios Africa