Departing from previous literature that focuses on drought, poverty and climate change as key reasons behind labour emigration out of the Western Sahelian region, the authors instead delve into the social complexity of the history of emigration from Niger. The report offers fascinating insight which shows that contrary to popular narrative, emigration has overwhelmingly been ‘south-south’ in nature, with the majority of Nigerian emigrants heading to other West and Central African countries. Those who do attempt to reach Europe do so only when conditions in Algeria or Libya become intolerable. It is the position of the authors that there is a clear role played by local level governance institutions on rural residents’ access to resources and levels of well-being, a role they contend is under-appreciated or ignored in the migration-specific literature. They call for greater focus on how local systems of governance are implicated in emigration decisions, experience and outcomes in Niger.
More about the research project “Political Representation under a Changing Sky”.