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MMC West Africa 4Mi Snapshot – February 2020 Cost and duration of migration journey

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This snapshot provides an overview of the duration of the journeys of migrants and refugees in West Africa, the cost of these journeys and the reasons behind the choice of migration routes.

This snapshot is based on 4Mi interviews conducted from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019: 3,058 migrants and refugees were interviewed, of which 31% were women and 69% were men. The main countries of nationality of the respondents are Burkina Faso (15%), Guinea (12%), Nigeria (10%), Côte d’Ivoire (10%), Mali (9%), Niger (8%) and Senegal (7%). Interviews took place in Mali (Kayes, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu and Ber), Niger (Niamey, Diffa, Agadez and Tillabéry) and Burkina Faso (Dori, Bobo Dioulasso and Kantchari).

Short journey
As outlined in Figure 1, a short duration on migration routes is most commonly cited among 4Mi respondents surveyed during this period. More than 60% of migrants and refugees interviewed had spent 30 days or less on migration routes up until the point of interview. Men more frequently report to be travelling for shorter durations. There are hardly any data points indicating travel for longer than eight months. These findings are not surprising given the relative ease of travel most respondents are supposed to enjoy within the ECOWAS space, since the majority are ECOWAS citizens to whom the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons should apply. It is noted that about 17% of respondents spend more than two months on migration routes. Among those, all report having stopped along the way for significant periods of time. The main reasons for stopping cited by these respondents include working to earn money for the next stretch of the journey (63%), staying with friends/ relatives for a while (43%), waiting for money transfer from families/friends to pay for next stretch of their journey (26%), looking for smugglers to organise the next stretch of the journey (11%) and poor health (11%).