Mobility and Migration in Mozambique – IOM’s Role

Mobility is an integral part of life in Mozambique. Mozambique is a large country with more than 53 border posts, significant transport corridors linking landlocked countries – such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi – to major sea ports and to the regional hub of South Africa. These transport corridors are home to mobile and migrant groups including cross border traders and long distance transporters. Historically, labour migrants work in South African mines and commercial farms. More recently, internal labour migration is on the increase as the economy opens up to extractives and energy companies. With the economy in Mozambique rapidly improving, it is beginning to experience increased migration flows into the country, particularly in the centre and north – as entry points for transit through Mozambique to South Africa, and as migrants enter to seek work with extractives companies.

Although Mozambique has been a peaceful country since the signing of the peace accord in 1992, the civil war, which peaked in the 1980s, saw large refugee flows into neighbouring countries. IOM’s operations from 1994-1996 in Mozambique facilitated massive repatriation and reintegration of returning refugees and ex-combatants. In addition to post-war recovery and reconstruction, Mozambique experiences natural disasters linked to seasonal flooding of the Zambezi and Limpopo River Basins, and the touch-down of cyclones along the 2,470 km stretch of coast line. This has resulted in perennial internal displacement of thousands of families whose livelihoods and homes are destroyed when these disasters occur. IOM has made great strides since 2007 to support the government during emergencies, reduce risk, and build government capacity to manage disasters.

At present, there continue to be significant emergency operations, recovery and development challenges coupled with cross-cutting concerns such as the spread of HIV and AIDS, human smuggling and recent increases in irregular migration. IOM’s two largest programmes are Migration and Health and Operations and Emergencies. Additionally, there is a large increase of mixed migration  from the Horn of Africa. Many of the migrants involved in these movements come from Somalia and Ethiopia, and while some seek asylum in Mozambique,  many  try to move onward to South Africa. IOM Mozambique has steadily increased its role in the areas of Integrated Border Management, Mixed Migration, Migrant Assistance and Labour Migration and Human Development.

Through these programmes, IOM Mozambique partners with various government ministries and institutions under the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MNEC), Interior (MINT), Health (MISAU), Labour (MITRAB), General Prosecutor's Office (PGR), and State Administration (MAE). IOM also works with coordination entities including the National AIDS Council (CNCS) and the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) as well as partnering with municipalities and districts at Provincial levels. Non-governmental partners include TEBA, Save the Children, Samaritan’s Purse, HelpAge International, Red Cross Mozambique and IFRC, Community Media for Development (CMFD), Concern, and a variety of local NGOs and community based organizations (CBOs).