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Forced migration continues to be a serious, protracted, and in some areas, an expanding problem across Africa, particularly south of the Sahara. With over 13 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 19 countries, Africa remained the continent by far most affected by internal displacement in 2004. Over 50 percent of the world’s IDPs live in Africa. In Sudan alone, up to 6 million people are thought to be internally displaced, more than in any other country in the world. Sudan is also the country with the largest amount of people newly displaced in 2004 (about 1 million, mostly in Darfur). Other large-scale displacement crises in Africa included the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with 2.3 million IDPs and Uganda with up to 2 million IDPs.


There are estimated to be some 3.25 million African refugees and asylum seekers. The vast majority of these reside in other African countries. Very few leave their region of origin. Protracted refugee situations (people living in refugee camps or settlements for more than five years) continue to be a particular problem in the continent. They include: 280,000 Eritreans in Sudan; 300,000 Angolans in Zambia, Congo-Kinshasa and Namibia; 165,000 Sahrawi in Algeria; 270,000 Somalis in Kenya, Yemen, Djibouti and Ethiopia; 330,000 Burundians Tanzania, Congo-Kinshasa and Rwanda; 330,000 Liberians across West Africa; and 475,000 Sudanese in various countries.

Africa also accounted for the world’s highest number of return movements during 2004. In the DRC, more than 1 million IDPs were able to return home. Following the end of civil war in Angola in 2002, some 900,000 more people returned home during 2004. Return movements have also been occurring in Sudan and West Africa (World Refugee Survey 2004, Global IDP Project).

Selected references

See also:


Research Guides


Selected full-text documents (for more, search in the Digital Library)


Web Resources

Selected web-based information resources (for more, search the FMO website)


News/situation reports

Resources from forced migration organizations in Africa

Legal and policy resources

Research collections

Relevant Organizations

Contact details for organizations based in Africa (for more, search in the Organizations Directory)


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Recent Sudanese arrivals at Djoran in the Chad border where thousands of refugees are scattered fleeing fighting in Sudan's Darfur region.

Location of Africa

Map showing the location of Africa

Click on the image above to launch an interactive map illustrating sources of forced migration, then to view information about a specific African country, place your mouse pointer over the circle symbol.

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Last updated Sep 06, 2011