Africa hosts more than one-third of the world’s refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)—many of whom are fleeing ongoing conflicts in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. This growing phenomenon impacts not only those fleeing conflict, but also the host communities and countries who now face complex logistical and humanitarian challenges. A comprehensive response to this problem must seek to address root causes, thereby preventing further displacement, and also find durable solutions for the many millions already displaced.

Human migration is a natural, constant process and contributes to the development of cultures and economies. But when displacement is forced—whether by violent conflict, poor governance, or environmental factors such as natural disasters or drought—the displaced often find themselves traumatized and vulnerable to physical and economic insecurity. And for those who live in refugee camps and host communities, the conditions are as diverse as the issues that drive displacement. That’s why, in acknowledgement of both the challenges of displacement and the leadership roles played by African countries that host refugees, the African Union has named 2019 the year of refugees, IDPs and returnees.

The U.S. Institute of Peace, the African Diplomatic Corps, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a discussion on forced displacement in Africa. The panel conversation highlighted African policy responses to displacement at the national, regional, and continental level, discuss current and anticipated challenges, and brainstorm innovative approaches. Follow the conversation with #AfricaDayUSIP.

Speakers

H.E. Soorooj Phokeer, opening remarks
Ambassador of the Republic of Mauritius

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), opening remarks
U.S. Representative from California

Carol Thompson O’Connell, opening remarks
Acting Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State

H.E. Mathilde Mukantabana
Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda

H.E. Wilson Mutagaywa Kajumula Masilingi
Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania

H.E Mull Ssebujja Katende
Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda

Matthew Reynolds
Regional Representative of the UN Refugee Agency for the United States of America and the Caribbean, UNHCR

Ger Duany
Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the East and Horn of Africa, UNHCR

The Honorable Nancy Lindborg, moderator
President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Two Years of Myanmar’s Junta: Regional Instability, Surging Organized Crime

Two Years of Myanmar’s Junta: Regional Instability, Surging Organized Crime

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

By: Priscilla A. Clapp;  Jason Tower

Two years ago today, Myanmar’s military snuffed out the country’s democratic government in a coup and set about restoring the grim dictatorship that dominated the Southeast Asian nation for 50 years. But the generals’ initial moves — jailing civilian leaders, shutting the free press, issuing heavy-handed decrees — were the only things that went according to plan. To date, the coup has instead triggered myriad unintended effects. None are more urgent and consequential than the instability and crime that the generals’ power grab triggered across Southeast Asia, and none more directly implicate U.S. interests in the region.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGlobal Policy

The Persistent Threat of Nuclear Crises Among China, India and Pakistan

The Persistent Threat of Nuclear Crises Among China, India and Pakistan

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

By: Daniel Markey, Ph.D.

Southern Asia — India, Pakistan and China — is the only place on earth where three nuclear-armed states have recently engaged in violent confrontations along their contested borders. As a USIP senior study group report concluded last year, the problem of nuclear stability in Southern Asia is getting harder to manage because of geopolitical changes, such as rising India-China border tensions, as well as evolving military technologies, including growing nuclear arsenals and more capable delivery systems. Unfortunately, in the time since that senior study group completed its work, little has happened to revise its worrisome conclusion or to prevent the most likely triggering causes of a nuclearized crisis in Southern Asia. To the contrary, there are some good reasons to fear that the situation in Southern Asia has even deteriorated over the past year.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGlobal Policy

The Latest: Three Things to Know About Conflict Flashpoints in Southern Asia

The Latest: Three Things to Know About Conflict Flashpoints in Southern Asia

Thursday, January 26, 2023

By: Tamanna Salikuddin

As the United States deepens its partnership with India and focuses on the Indo-Pacific strategy, New Delhi’s troubled relationships with both Pakistan and China continue to threaten strategic stability in Southern Asia. Last year, a USIP senior study group released a report examining potential trigger events that could lead to escalation in the region, offering recommendations on how to enhance strategic stability. USIP’s Tamanna Salikuddin provides an update on the state of strategic stability in the region, discusses what upcoming events we should be watching and looks at how India-Chinese tensions have impacted Southern Asia.

Type: Blog

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

The Latest @ USIP: African Youth Ambassadors on Youth, Peace and Security

The Latest @ USIP: African Youth Ambassadors on Youth, Peace and Security

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The youth, peace and security agenda is relatively new for many parts of Africa, where young people are often absent from institutions and leadership positions that have a major impact on their lives. Several of the African Union’s youth ambassadors explore how the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit offers a chance to build partnerships — especially at the local level — that promote youth-led peacebuilding efforts, as well as how African countries can draw on U.S. experience in addressing some of the major societal challenges facing African youth, such as violent extremism, unemployment and access to services like education and health care.

Type: Blog

YouthConflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications