(Published - 4 May 2020)
The debate around the migration-development nexus has grown in recent years, with increasing global interest in human mobility. In sub-Saharan Africa, researchers have sought to describe trends and patterns of migration to harness economic, social and human benefits for the development of the continent.
But researchers often face challenges in presenting findings in African journals in this field, either because such journals are not published regularly, or simply because they do not exist.
It is for this reason that the University of the Western Cape’s Professor Mulugeta Dinbabo has founded the African Human Mobility Review (AHMR). It is one of the first continental, interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed online journals of high quality which addresses human mobility, among other things.
“Publication is a key component that promotes not only the visibility of the research, but also the credibility of the empirical work conducted by researchers. In particular, peer-reviewed scholarly journals are a fundamental tool for fostering intellectual debate and inquiry,” he said.
The publication is a joint effort between UWC and the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA). In the last five years, it was housed at SIHMA, but now the journal has found a new academic home on the UWC campus. The partnership offers for both institutions joint ownership of the journal, a unique breadth of knowledge and experience, along with highly-skilled research expertise. In this regard, UWC can serve as the hub of larger, multi-organisation research consortia, bringing together diverse organisations with similar interests and facilitating partnerships between them.
Having published more than 85 critical, double-blind peer-reviewed articles in 16 issues, the journal was created to encourage and facilitate the study of all aspects of Human Mobility in Africa, including socio-economic, political, legislative and developmental.
Prof Dinbabo of the Institute for Social Development at UWC played a major role in the AHMR becoming one of the popular journals in its field, which is accredited by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
Prof Dinbabo, AHMR ‘s Chief Editor, took the initiative in building the capacity of young African researchers to afford them an opportunity to publish and disseminate their work on the socio-demographic, economic, political, psychological, historical, legislative and religious aspects of human migration and refugee movements from and within sub- Saharan Africa.
He also played a crucial role in identifying best practices and suggesting guidelines for the correct implementation of migration policies in Africa.
“In general, I actively contributed to AHMR’s overall goal of disseminating research that fosters understanding of human mobility and informs policies that ensure the rights and dignity of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Africa,” he said.
Under the auspices of Professor Vivienne Lawack, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, UWC is also developing a new Master’s Programme in Migrations Studies to create a direct link between research and teaching. Accordingly, a panel chaired by Professor Lawack, comprising senior scholars across faculties, has been established to review, examine, evaluate and develop the new programme which is expected to be launched next year.
Prof Dinbabo is also responsible for the overall management and coordination of the new Master’s Programme at UWC.