Challenges of the Migration and Integration of Ethiopian Entrepreneurs to South Africa

Yordanos Estifanos, Tanya Zack and Kudakwashe P. Vanyoro (2019). ‘Challenges of the Migration and Integration of Ethiopian Entrepreneurs to South Africa‘, ACMS Policy Brief, July.

The various routes of migration – resources, networks, formal and less formal agents and the capacity of individuals undertaking the migration journey – as well as their motivation for migrating from Ethiopia to South Africa are not well understood. Yet, this inquiry could offer important insights into the base factors of migration within this ethnic entrepreneurial community. This study, undertaken under the auspices of the Migrating Out of Poverty Research Consortium (MOOP) at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) explored the migration industry that attends the migration of Ethiopians to South Africa. The study explored these issues through qualitative research that included long form interviews with 40 Ethiopian migrant entrepreneurs in Johannesburg and Durban. This was supplemented with desktop research and key informant interviews.

The study found that a large number of Ethiopians migrate to South Africa to escape political and economic hardship. Many settle in metropolitan areas as well as in rural towns and villages as entrepreneurs. Their migration is irregular and they navigate extreme border restrictions and dangerous terrain in order to make the journey. They rely on smuggling as well as social networks. Once in South Africa these migrants face considerable risks that include crime, harassment and xenophobic attacks.

About Kuda Vanyoro

Kuda is a Research Communications Officer and Doctoral Researcher at ACMS.

In 2013, Kuda was awarded an International Human Rights Exchange Programme special scholarship from Bard College and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. There he acquired distinguished multidisciplinary human rights education and certification. During the course of the programme, he served as a Communications and Advocacy Intern at the Albert Street School for Refugees in Johannesburg where he became exposed as well as interested in migration and poverty issues due to his daily interaction with Zimbabwean refugees.

Kuda joined ACMS in February 2014 where he was appointed Research, Communications and Outreach Intern. ACMS nominated him for the Migrating out of Poverty Research Internship Scheme from April to July 2014. His internship involved supporting all ACMS communications work, preparing and packaging policy briefs, research data capturing, undertaking desktop research and blogging on contemporary issues related to migration and poverty in Southern Africa. Kuda has participated and presented at various international conferences and three years iteration of the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

He holds an MA in Migration & Displacement (Cum laude) from Wits University. His current doctoral thesis explores how crossborder migrants experience quotidian waiting events at the border and what various banal modalities of waiting say about belonging, subjectification and governmentality.