E.g., 02/23/2024
E.g., 02/23/2024
Migration and Displacement in Secondary Cities: Insights from Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda

The world is becoming increasingly urbanized, driven both by long-standing patterns of rural-urban migration and the growth of new small and mid-sized cities. While sprawling megacities often receive the most policy and public attention, secondary cities are some of the fastest growing in many parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. Migrants and displaced persons, often drawn to small and mid-sized cities by the promise of greater economic opportunities and better access to services than exist in rural areas, can nonetheless face a variety of challenges, as can the communities in which they settle.

This study explores these dynamics in Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda. These countries and the studied cities within them are emblematic of urbanization trends in West and East Africa, respectively, and they illustrate a range of migration and displacement experiences and policy approaches that offer lessons for refugee- and migrant-receiving secondary cities.

The report examines common challenges to migrants’ socioeconomic inclusion in secondary cities, including the gender dynamics at play beneath broader trends. It also looks at how cities, local representatives of the central government, and civil-society organizations have sought to respond to migration-related challenges and factors that have limited their actions. The report is part of a multiyear research partnership between MPI and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's Thematic Section Migration and Forced Displacement to support the development of global solutions for migration-related challenges.

Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  Migrants’ Socioeconomic Characteristics and Gendered Migration Dynamics in Secondary Cities
A. Case Study 1: Côte d’Ivoire
B. Case Study 2: Uganda

3  Common Challenges to Socioeconomic Inclusion in Secondary Cities
A. Access to Documentation
B. Access to Services
C. Access to Livelihoods and Economic Challenges

4  Local Responses to Migration Challenges and Opportunities
A. Formal Mandates and Political Priorities
B. Key Roles of Local Actors
C. Gaps in Financing, Capacity, and Engagement

5  Conclusion: How Local Actors Can Enhance Socioeconomic Inclusion
A. Collecting Reliable Data in Secondary Cities
B. Building Local Capacity on Migration and Displacement Issues
C. Strengthening Consultations with Affected Communities
D. Improving International Coordination and Global Advocacy Efforts