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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article21 August 20181 min read

Sudan and Ethiopia met for the first time to discuss improvements to seasonal labour migration

Lokdi is a checkpoint in Gedaref where seasonal labour migrants from Ethiopia cross the border to Sudan
Photo: Wasil Engel/GIZ

Rising unemployment, land shortage, and ethnic tensions across the Amhara region in Ethiopia drive about 80,000 people to cross the border every year to find work on the Sudanese farms in the Gedaref State where labour demand is high. Seasonal labour migration has become a stable livelihood basis both to Ethiopian families and to the sustainability of farming and agricultural production in Sudan. However, due to the lack of legal frameworks, border crossing and employment agreements are often irregular, leaving workers with little protection from abuse by employers, border officials and other threats.

For the first time, Sudan and Ethiopia met to discuss the challenges of seasonal labour migration between their countries. The Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme facilitated the bi-lateral cross-border workshop in Khartoum in June 2018. More than 65 representatives of national and regional governments, the agricultural sector and research institutions, as well as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union (EU), the International Labour Organization (ILO), Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and BMM implementing partners discussed a concrete plan of action to improve the management of seasonal labour migration between these two countries. The participants set priorities and drafted an action plan with follow up actions in the fields of policy reform, protection and provision of services to seasonal labour migrants, cross-border coordination mechanisms, border management processes and procedures.

The discussions were based on the main findings and recommendations from a BMM assessment report on seasonal labour migration management. The report provides recommendations for the governments of both countries to improve cross-border flows of seasonal migrants without putting the positive effects of seasonal migration at risk. The proposals include the introduction of a regulated recruitment agencies system, the establishment of information centres at the borders, capacity building for border management bodies, and enhanced coordination and information sharing between the Ethiopian and Sudanese authorities.


Publication date
21 August 2018
Region and Country
  • Horn of Africa
  • Improved migration management
  • GIZ

Programmes in the region

The action aims to enhance the ability of women and children in the States of Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref to lead socially and economically productive lives, and in doing so strengthen their resilience and that of their communities.