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Trans-Saharan labour emigration from Niger: Local governance as mediator of its underlying causes and consequences

Case studies and best practices

This report reviews the existing literature of trans-Saharan labour emigration from Niger both conducted by Nigeriens but also by other West Africans, given Niger’s importance as a country of transit. The literature on labour emigration from the Sahelian region, as in other parts of the world, is dominated by studies that emphasise particular causes (drought, poverty, climate change) and focus on particular consequences (economic impact, labour scarcity, cultural diffusion etc). Such framings work to ignore the important role played by customary and formal authorities through their important roles in mediating conflict management, resource access, and government services. This review rejects singular causes and consequences and instead reviews what is known about emigration’s history and the social complexity surrounding it.

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