Across many parts of Africa, conflict, political violence, climate change and food insecurity are converging to forcibly displace more Africans than ever before.
A recent report by the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) found that the number of forcibly displaced people, including those displaced within their own countries, asylum seekers and refugees, surpassed 100 million globally in May 2022.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) 2023 planning figures, 44 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are displaced, up from 38.3 million at the end of 2021.
In East Africa, around the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes regions, 19.2 million people had fled their homes by the end of 2021 due to violence, climate-related droughts and flooding.
The region is also suffering its worst drought in over 4 decades after five consecutive failed rainy seasons and faces a sixth in 2023. As of November 2022, drought had displaced 1.8 million people.
Over nine million livestock have died in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia after four failed rainy seasons and record low crop yields. Many fleeing food insecurity seek refuge in other drought-affected regions.
South Sudan, meanwhile, suffered heavy flooding for the fourth consecutive year. Over two million people are displaced due to flooding and ongoing conflict.
The report found that, in Southern Africa, 10.1 million people are displaced due to climate-linked disasters, drought, economic pressures and insecurity.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) long-standing conflict has created five million IDPs and one million refugees.
Malawi is experiencing severe food scarcity linked to poverty and extreme weather. In Mozambique, almost one million have been internally displaced by the ongoing insurgency and climate change disasters.
In West and Central Africa, violent extremism, political instability, inter-communal clashes over scarce resources and climate change have displaced 12.7 million people.
The worst flooding in Nigeria’s history displaced 1.3 million people and inundated internal displacement camps, while flooding also affected parts of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon.
Despite this devastating picture across much of Africa, humanitarian and refugee responses face unprecedented funding shortages.
In October 2022, UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi sounded the alarm stating “I regret to inform you that, for the first time during my tenure, I am worried about UNHCR’s financial situation.”
“The world’s response to the Ukrainian crisis shows that solidarity and creative solutions are possible. It sets the bar for how stakeholders, including humanitarian agencies, the public and private sector funders, and the media, should address Africa’s complex humanitarian crises.
Visibility must be increased, along with responses that provide durable solutions for African refugees,” said the ISS.