Return migration to Mali: Examining definitions and statistical sources

Type Report
Title Return migration to Mali: Examining definitions and statistical sources
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
The definitions of return migration adopted by national censuses and large-scale surveys reflect
domestic policy perceptions and priorities as applied to return and return migrants. The first part of this
study explores the ways in which the definitions adopted by national statistical agencies in West Africa
and, more specifically in Mali, have varied over time with various types of migration flows in specific
periods of time, the priority given to nation-building dynamics
, and with the influence of external
drivers. Insufficient institutional capacity and poor knowledge infrastructures may also account for this
situation. A combination of these factors comes into play in West Africa. As pointed out by several
scholars, the scant availability and reliability of sources heavily affects the quality of migration data and
studies (Ba and Ndione 2006; Konseiga 2005).
The second part sets out to investigate the sources of official data on return migration in Mali and
discusses the availability and reliability of such data. A section is devoted to so-called “enforced return”,
i.e., the removal of unauthorized migrants, which has been subject to major policy attention in bilateral
and multilateral talks involving Mali while shaping at the same time policy priorities and perceptions.

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