Accepted Paper:

Local perspectives on transnational relations of Cameroonian migrants  

Author:

Michaela Pelican (University of Cologne)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses local perspectives on international migration & the role of the family in the migration enterprise, focusing on south-south migration, from Cameroon to other African countries & China. The presentation is based on a research project with colleagues & students from Cameroon.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses local perspectives on international migration and the role of the family in the migration enterprise. The focus will be on south-south migration, namely from Cameroon to other African countries and China. The presentation is based on a joint research project with colleagues and students of the Universities of Yaoundé (Cameroon).

As in many African countries, international migration has become a major concern for large parts of the population of Cameroon. While western countries still feature as preferred destinations, many Cameroonians have turned to other, more easily accessible options. Most common is migration to neighbouring countries, such as Gabon, which has less bureaucratic requirements. Alternatively, some Cameroonians have chosen South Africa in the hope of making a quick fortune and subsequently a way out of Africa. A few individuals have opted for China - with mixed results. In all these migration enterprises the family plays a crucial role, both in the preparation of the journey and with regard to transnational exchange relations (i.e. distribution of remittances, spiritual and moral support). However, besides mutual support, these relations are also characterised by secrecy and suspicion.

Panel W004
Mobility, transnational connections and sociocultural change in contemporary Africa