Youth on the Move: Views from Below on Ethiopian International Migration

This post was originally published by Hurst Publishers.

A refreshing study of young Ethiopian migrants, going beyond the usual host-dominated narratives surrounding such upheaval to uncover the motivations of migrants themselves. The volume was edited by Asnake Kefale and Fana Gebresenbet.


At a time when policies are increasingly against it, international migration has become the subject of great public and academic attention. This book departs from the dominant approach of studying international migration at macro level, and from the perspective of destination countries. The contributors here seek to do more than ‘scratch the surface’ of the migration process, by foregrounding the voices and views of Ethiopian youth–potential migrants and returnees–and of their sending communities.

The volume focuses on the perspective and agency of these young people, both potential migrants and returnees, to better understand migration decision-making, experiences and outcomes. It brings together rarely documented cases of young men and women from several communities across Ethiopia, migrating to the Gulf and South Africa. Explaining the agency of local actors–prospective migrants, brokers and sending families–Youth on the Move illuminates the pervasive, persistent failure of state attempts to regulate migration. Moreover, it examines the financing of migration and the sharing of remittances, within a culturally situated moral economy. While accounts centred on economics and political violence are important, the contributors demonstrate compellingly that these factors alone cannot provide a full understanding of migration’s complexity, nor of its social realities.

The volume is now available.