Addressing the role of subnational actors, from local governments to mining companies, is increasingly critical to understanding migration, said Loren Landau, director of the African Center for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand, in an interview with ECSP. These actors frequently exert more influence than national governments over human resources because they control the “space in which people live, the space in which they produce,” Landau said.
Migration is most frequently seen as an aberration or a temporary coping mechanism, but this conception is outdated. According to Landau, “especially as rural livelihoods become less viable, movement will be the norm.”
Local and global actors must recognize that “people are moving, and they are moving to a whole range of new places,” he said. These new places will need attention and resources, but we will need to move beyond traditional views of migration in order to respond to the challenge.