Prospects for the Global Compacts in Africa: Combining International Solidarity with Home-Grown Solutions

Eunice Ndonga Githinji and Tamara Wood

International Journal of Refugee Law, 2019


This brief article explores the prospects for the Global Compacts in Africa and considers whether they are ‘adapted to the realities and peculiarities’ of people movement in the region. The authors contend that some of the most significant refugee- and migration-related issues facing African States are not adequately addressed in the two Compacts. In particular, ‘mixed migration’ which characterizes much of the movement in Africa, is poorly dealt with in both the structure and the content of the Compacts, and the Compacts may be criticized for promoting the ‘unhelpful binary thinking between voluntary and forced migration’. The authors argue that clearer financing and responsibility sharing mechanisms are necessary for the Global Compacts to achieve meaningful responsibility sharing. Furthermore, the compacts overlook the role of African civil society organizations, which have long played an important role in complementing and filling gaps in State action to ensure protection and assistance for both refugees and migrants. The authors conclude that, while Africa stands to benefit from the Compacts, concrete international commitments to responsibility sharing and support for homegrown solutions must be key priorities in their implementation.