Destined to migrate

Exploring a culture of migration in a world of migration restrictions – Kayes, Mali

The region of Kayes in south-western Mali is known for its culture of migration, both within Africa and to France. While regular migration patterns have been traced back to the beginning of France’s colonial rule in the late 1800s, Malian nationals have started to reach the European Union (EU) increasingly irregularly since 2010. As of October 2019, Malians are among the top five nationalities traveling towards Spain along the Western Mediterranean Sea.

The report explores 1) the extent to which the ‘culture of migration’ contributes to migration aspirations in Kayes today; 2) reflects on the impact of changes in EU migration policies on migration aspirations, journeys, and decision-making; and 3) reviews the role of information campaigns in shaping the migration perceptions and decision-making.

The analysis and findings are based on secondary data analysis and 110 interviews, 6 focus group discussions and 5 key informant interviews. Primary data was collected in 11 villages in the region of Kayes, Mali, between 13 October and 3 November 2019. The research is the result of a collaboration between REACH and the Mixed Migration Centre, funded by United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

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