The Horn of Africa (HoA) is a region with a long history of crises, including conflict, natural disasters, and mass displacement of people both within and across its borders. It is also one of the most diverse in term of cultures, ethnicities, and religions of the African continent. Recent years have seen some positive developments with respect to governance, economic growth, and progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, but these have been unevenly distributed and have failed to keep pace with existing and emerging challenges. The region’s complexities, combined with a rapidly expanding and increasingly youthful population, are producing progressively more acute challenges to international peace and security, notably irregular and forced migration, piracy, radicalisation, terrorism, and organised crime, including trafficking and smuggling.
Supported by the EU Trust Fund, the Research and Evidence Facility (REF) has been created to collate and produce evidence and policy relevant knowledge. Such knowledge is expected to include (but not be limited to) information on the drivers of migration, dynamics of cross-border economies and centre/periphery relations, the features and limitations of government migration management systems and social service provision, drivers of radicalism and violent extremism, and opportunities for strengthening resilience. These topics have been relevant in recent years, but have gained in significance to EU member states with the increase and acceleration of migration from several regions, including the Horn of Africa, into the European Union. The research is conducted by a consortium made up of SOAS as the lead partner, the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute (Oxford/IMI) and Sahan Research (based in Nairobi, Kenya).