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Key findings
  • One in 10 Tanzanians (10%) say they or family members have lived abroad in recent years. But by a margin of about 4 to 1, citizens say it is difficult to cross international borders in East Africa in order to work or trade.
  • About one in six Tanzanians (15%) say they have considered moving to another country to live, the second-lowest level of interest in emigration among 34 African countries surveyed by Afrobarometer. About one in 20 citizens (6%) say they have thought “a lot” about emigrating
  • Among Tanzanians who have considered emigration, 5% say they are taking concrete steps to leave the country, such as seeking a visa.
  • The most common reasons that respondents give for considering emigration are to find work (34%) and to escape poverty and economic hardship (29%).
  • The most preferred destinations for potential emigrants are in Africa (51%), followed by North America (17%) and Europe (15%).

In an interconnected world, migration is inevitable and complex, a source of opportunity and challenge for countries of both origin and destination (International Organization for Migration, 2018; Food and Agriculture Organization, 2017; Boghean, 2016). In recent years, migration has become a high-visibility policy issue around the globe, including in Africa, as tens of thousands have made their way to Europe and hundreds have died trying or been subjected to mistreatment, even sold as slaves (BBC News, 2017; International Organization for Migration, 2015).

In 2015 and 2016, the government of Tanzania suspended more than 70 recruitment agents for household workers and restricted foreign travel by job seekers, arguing that it was protecting young Tanzanians from abusive treatment abroad (allAfrica, 2018).

According to findings from the most recent Afrobarometer survey, about one in six Tanzanians have considered moving abroad – the second-lowest level of interest in emigration among 34 surveyed countries in Africa. Youth and well-educated citizens are particularly likely to think about leaving the country, most often in order to find jobs and to escape economic hardship. The most preferred destination among potential emigrants is another African country.

Derick Msafiri

Derick Msafiri is an intern for REPOA, the Afrobarometer national <br /> partner in Tanzania.