Rural-urban and cross-border MIGRAtion in West-Africa – an integrated assessment framework of drivers, processes, and sustainable REsponses (MIGRAWARE)

Priority Research Theme: Rural-urban and Cross Border Migration in West Africa with interfaces to other research themes considering drivers for migration such as losses in agricultural productivity/hunger, climate change-induced risks, and natural disasters.

MIGRAWARE is a multinational research by a Consortium sponsored by The Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany (BMBF) comprising German and African based partners whose activities are guided by PT-DLR and WASCAL Competence Centre in Burkina Faso respectively

  • German partner: Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg (MLU), CoKnow Consulting (Micro-SME), Julius-Maximilian University Würzburg (JMU), Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), PiSolution GmbH (SME); and
  • African partners: University Nazi Boni (UNB), Cape Coast University (CCU), CSIR Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Hen Mpoano (NGO), Federal University of Technology Minna (FUT Minna).

The research is coordinated by MLU’s Prof Christine Furst; Other partners include Prof Mohamadou Belem (UNB), Jennifer Hauck (CoKnow Consulting-Micro SME sub-Contractor MLU), Dr. Hannes Taubenbock (DLR), Dr. Michael Thiel (JMU), Prof Christopher Conrad (MLU), Frank Pietszch (PiSolutions GmbH-SME), Cape Coast University (Prof Benjamin Nyarko), Dr. John Bidzakin (CSIR SARI), Steven Kankam (Hen Mpoano-NGO); while Dr. Mairo Mohammad represents FUT Minna under the Coordination of Prof A. A. Okhimamhe, the Director of WASCAL CCHH. The research commenced in June 2021 and would span a period of three years (June 2024).

MIGRAWARE comprises of five Work Packages, whose Team Leadership comprises different members of the Consortium, namely WP 1 (MLU, CCU, and JMU); WP2 (DLR), WP3 (Hen Mpoano, CSIR SARI and CoKnow), WP4 (UNB and PiSolution), WP5 (CCU, FUT Minna, and CSIR SARI), and WP6 (MLU). It is a true demonstration of German and African research collaboration.


1.0       Aim

The aim of MIGRAWARE is to deliver an integrative assessment framework for the processes, drivers and factors of rural-urban and cross-border migration in West Africa to inform on governance instruments for alleviating migration needs, improving livelihood and sustaining the environment. The project intends to detect the typical pathways and (hi)stories of migration that include moving from poor hinterlands to urban conglomerations and other places so that governance instruments can be tailored for the local, national and inter-regional level.


2.0       Objectives

2.1       Scientific objectives

(a) Participatory and literature based analysis of the key drivers, factors, and their relevance and interactions that lead to migration. This includes analyses of social, economic, and environmental aspects including access to knowledge and education, social roles, interactions between population growth, climate change, and food and water insecurity.

(b) Developing participatory scenarios for mitigation opportunities through regulative, financial, information (education & training), and community-based governance instruments. This includes testing their impacts on social and ecological processes and potential trade-offs or risks at the local, national and regional (West-Africa) scale such as new spatial disparities to ensure that resilient social-ecological systems are built.

(c) Developing a complex knowledge model based on graph-node theories that integrates drivers, factors, socio-ecological conditions and scenarios that can be adapted to different regions, where factors and drivers and their relevance might vary.

(d) Projecting how driving factors and in consequence migration will develop in short, medium and long term (see also technical working objective (a)).

(e) Identify potential governance measures, regulatory, rural development, gender, and youth-specific options required to control sustainable rural-urban and cross-border mobility.

2.2       Technical working objectives

(a) Detecting critical factor combinations (e.g. population growth, land tenure regime, degradation, productivity losses) from historical and current land use/land cover (remote sensing) data. This supports the transfer-ability of the framework to regions, where no field studies have been conducted, e.g. also to similar regions in neighboring countries.

(b) Implementing advanced tools for mobile devices for mobility tracking and mapping and apps supporting citizen science approaches. This information should feed the model with information on typical step-stones, routes of and reasons for migration, so that governance approaches do not only address the local scale, but also interim stations. This innovative approach will deliver for the first time migration maps in West Africa as an information bases for policy makers or other holders of governance tools.

(c) Delivering a library based open source analytical tool (MIGRAWARE) that supports updating and further developing migration analyses at WASCAL as a service provider, and provides a joint development platform for Universities, NGOs or governmental development institutes (NARES institutions) including interfaces to mobility mapping and tracking and the citizen sciences apps for further surveys of migration processes.


3.0       Methodological approach and contribution

MIGRAWARE broke down its work to four thematic work packages (WP), one outreach and one coordinating WP.

WP1 – “Drivers and Factors” will analyze the reasons for migration

WP2 “Mobility analysis using big data approaches” – will use heterogeneous datasets to map migration pathways from the starting towards arrival hotspots.

WP3 “Governance” – will inquire and develop – based on participatory scenarios – suggestions for suitable governance instruments that address migration decisions, mobility pathways, and re


WP 4 – “Knowledge integration and modelling” will deliver a library-based open-source software (MIGRAWARE) for migration and mobility studies in West Africa.

WP5 “Outreach and Communication” will make approaches and tools known, accessible and tangible.


4.0       Activities of FUTMINNA in MIGRAWARE

FUT MINNA will provide the following overall research and services contributions to MIGRAWARE project:

  • WASCAL DRP IN CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN HABITAT (CCHH) shall be a hub that considers the training of future decision makers and knowledge holders for climate-migration interactions in Nigeria;
  • A modular teaching and training program for knowledge and skills in how to assess and manage the impacts of climate and global change on rural-urban and cross-boundary migration will be jointly developed and implemented; and
  • Elements of this can subsequently be transferred to other WASCAL graduation programme or be provided through remote teaching.

5.0       Personnel 



1. Professor A. A. Okhimamhe Project Manager
2. Dr.  Mairo Muhammed Project Coordinator
3.   Dr. Anita Adamu Senior Scientist I
4. Dr. Eichie Julia Senior Scientist II
5. Engr. Raphael Agboola IT Officer
6. Mr. Isaiah Sule Junior Scientist I
7. Mr. Jamil Momoh Junior Scientist II
8. Mrs. Sidikatu Aliyu Project Research Assistant