2015-04-28Diskussionpapier DOI: 10.18452/3129
Discussing rural-to-urban migration reversal in contemporary sub Saharan Africa: The case of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Nielsen, Jonas Østergaard
D’haen, Sarah Ann Lise
In recent research on rural-to-urban migration in sub Saharan Africa, a major point of discussion has been to what extent cities in this region are growing as fast as previously assumed and what role rural-to-urban migration plays in this process. Some of the literature suggests that the extent of rural-to-urban migration has been exaggerated and that some cities are even experiencing a migration reversal. A much used example of this ‘reversal’ is Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In this paper, we argue that most of the published literature regarding rural-to-urban migration in Burkina Faso relies on retrospective survey data covering the period prior to 2000 and that in fact little is known about migration trends in the last 15 years. Based on ethnographic field data, our results suggest that recent socio-political and environmental developments in Burkina Faso give rise to at least six distinct reasons for leaving the villages to settle in Ouagadougou. The paper therefore raises the question whether a rural-to-urban migration reversal is currently observed in Ouagadougou. Based on qualitative data no definite answer to this can be given in this paper but the results presented indicate that Ouagadougou might no longer be a good example of rural-to-urban migration reversal.
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