Department of Development Studies & SOAS Development for Transformation Centre (DevTraC)

Research and Evidence Facility: Informing migration policy in the Horn of Africa


The Horn of Africa 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).

Consortium members

The project is led by a research team and an expert advisory panel comprised of distinguished researchers and academics with extensive expertise in the projects research themes.

Research themes

  • The impact of migration management practices on migration decision making and experiences
  • Gendered practices and experiences of migration
  • The intersection of internal displacement, refugee movement and repatriation
  • Transnational support and information networks
  • Economic livelihoods and networks
  • Education and training
  • Safe and legal pathways to migration
  • Protection, vulnerability and resilience

Evidence, commentary and collaboration

Through its research, the project aims to generate a better understanding of the drivers of instability, migration, and displacement in the greater Horn of Africa (referring to Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda).

The full list of publications can be found on the project website, while some examples of its analysis and commentary are as follows:

Pictured: Hussein Mahmoud with a pastoralist in Asa village, watering his cattle from a pan in the rangelands of Tana River County. Learn more.

2022 conference: Towards greater inclusion and protection for migrants and forcibly displaced persons

In June 2022, the Research and Evidence Facility of the EU Trust Fund for Africa in the Horn of Africa convened in Nairobi for its second international conference around the theme "Migrants and Forcibly Displaced Persons: Towards Greater Inclusion and Protection".


This project is funded by European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The EU Trust Fund has been created to support the most fragile and affected African countries. The Trust Fund aims to help foster stability in the regions to respond to the challenges of irregular migration and displacement and to contribute to better migration management.

More specifically, it will help address the root causes of destabilisation, displacement and irregular migration, by promoting economic and equal opportunities, security and development.


  • Professor Laura Hammond (Team Leader)
  • Dr Oliver Bakewell (Migration Key Expert)
  • Vincent Chordi (Conflict and Governance Key Expert)
  • Haben Abraha Hill (Project Manager and Research Coordinator)