May 9 and 10, 2024 International Conference: Diasporas within Africa Argument



The University Research Group on Changes in Contemporary Africa (GRUMAC), the Center for African Studies of the University of Porto (CEAUP), and the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAS), in collaboration with the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of the University of Douala, organize the

International Conference:

When we talk about African diasporas, we generally highlight those who have crossed the seas to settle in Europe, America or Asia. The gaze is, in this context, more focused on the life course(Gherbhel, 2013; Mouafo, 2014; Chivallon, 2006), integration dynamics, and their impact on the economic performance of host countries (Kamdem, 2008; Blaser, 2010; Pondi, 2007), their contribution to the development of their country of origin and their socio-professional and political integration(Assogba, 2002; Ratha and Plaza, 2011; Noubissie Njeumeni, 2014-2015). The global perspective and the analysis of migration in the scientific literature (African or Africanist) rarely studies internal diasporas. However, the movement of populations within the African continent is intense. Africa; Cradle of humanity, has been a continent of migration since ancient times. For commercial and leisure purposes, individuals and groups are constantly on the move, as well as goods and ideas. The movement of people within the continent depended a lot on commercial transactions that sometimes took place over long distances. Wars and the political, religious, or social violence exerted by certain empires and kingdoms were/are another factors that contributed the movement of people and good in Africa .(Ki-zerbo, 1973; Cornevin, 1992). The many transit areas and the emergence of market towns scattered across the continent are perfect illustrations of the intensification of this phenomenon. We can, for information, cite the cities of Gao, Oyo, Banza Kongo, Aoudaghost, Timbuktu, etc.

Even long after slavery, trade stands as the guideline and the main lever that will in one way or another explain the displacement of populations. It has even been thought, in vain, that colonization should, with the erection of borders, put an end to the internal movement of populations(William, 1974). Although slowed down by the many mechanisms for controlling populations and their movement, it does not put an end to the movement of people. On another side, colonization will even encourage the installation of many internal diasporas, and their swarming through the importation of labour, soldiers and clerks deployed to officiate in the large colonial firms (Unilever, RW King, etc.) that were created in many territories.

This movement of populations within the continent takes place in several dynamics and forms. In addition to the slow migrations that have been sedimented for several centuries and whose main fuel was trade, we also have forms of violent migrations born of recent wars, crises and political instabilities (DRC, CAR, Rwanda, etc.)Added to these layers are also displacements linked to the vagaries of nature (climatic refugees), movements favored by the discovery and exploitation of mines in a territory, temporary or seasonal migrations, etc. Within these different communities also emerges another important entity. It is a form of “diaspora of the diaspora”. That is to say, people who leave their country of origin, settle elsewhere for 10 or 20 years, and establish themselves. Then, their descendants leave this host country to join another country where they are once again found. This local diaspora and this constant movement within the continent unfortunately does not operate smoothly. Indeed, we have observed for several decades a form of xenophobia that develops and manifests itself within African countries (South Africa, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia, etc.) against African communities. These actions are deplorable and it is important to remember that on several occasions, particularly with regard to South Africa, the countries of the continent have mobilized and welcomed and offered asylum to many South Africans who were trying to escape the fierce repression of the apartheid regime.

There are, therefore, large internal diasporas in African states, some of which have, over time, established themselves and become natives(Oumarou, 2004). Others are so well integrated that they hold and control one or more parts of the economy of their host nation (Oumarou, 2009-2010; Meyo Nze, 2011-2012; Mengong Bitounou, 2011-2012). While peoples migrate inland, the commercial activities practiced in Africa remain outward-oriented, thus promoting the continent's economic extroversion. This represents a real paradox in the face of the increasingly manifest desire for African integration.

This phenomenon, which has not been sufficiently studied in our opinion, is the central concern of this symposium on “internal diasporas in Africa”. This symposium is located at the crossroads of the reflection between the internal movements of populations (migration) and the fruit of these mobilities that are the diaspora. We specifically plan to change perspective by analyzing this “blind spot” of migration dynamics in Africa.

This call is aimed at teacher-researchers and researchers from universities, research institutes, doctoral students, and all specialists interested in this issue. Without being limited thereto, the proposals of communications must fall within at least one of the following areas:

    Axis 1: large families and descendants of immigrants.
    Axis 2: Political commitment and economic weight.
    Axis 3: Sectors of activity.
    Axis 4: Relations with countries of origin.
    Axis 5: Today's migration routes and major destinations.
    Axis 6: Diasporas born of war.
    Axis 7:Religious and ideological influences.
    Axis 8:Reception frameworks and modes of integration.
    Axis 9:Intra-African xenophobic acts and manifestations.
    Axis 10:Coexistence between foreign communities and local populations

Proposals must include the identification of the author (surname, first name, and institutional affiliation), the title of the proposed communication, and an abstract of 300 words maximum in French or English to the following address: Particular attention will be paid to original work based on field surveys and empirical data.

Deadline for submission of proposals: September 30, 2023
Response to calls: October 30, 2023
Held of the symposium: May 9 and 10, 2024.
The drafting protocol will be communicated to the contributors whose proposals are accepted.