Migration, Urbanisation and Conflict in Africa

In the context of unprecedented levels of urban growth across Sub-Saharan Africa, the ways in which migration feeds into current urban challenges is poorly understood. Urban in-migration has complex and contradictory consequences, and in African contexts is all too often associated with ‘crisis narratives’ and disorder in the absence of adequate knowledge of when and how migration leads to conflict. The relationships between urbanisation, migration and conflict are only likely to rise in importance in the context of population growth, increased pressure on land, and displacement related to climate change. This project will explore these issues through a comparative research design in nine cities in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda.

We explore these issues through three categories of cities: i) capital or ‘primate’ cities that experience a wide range of migration and associated conflicts over issues such as economic opportunities and land; ii) rapidly industrializing cities that are witnessing huge growth due to major investments in industry; and iii) ‘displacement’ cities where in-migration primarily involves people fleeing conflicts in surrounding rural areas.

The University of Sheffield team includes Tom Goodfellow, Melanie Lombard and Lindsay Sawyer (Urban Studies & Planning) and Daniel Hammett (Geography), this three-year project will be delivered in collaboration with researchers from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), University of Lagos (Nigeria), Makerere University (Uganda) and the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa).

Dr Tom Goodfellow

Project Information

Title: Migration, Urbanisation and Conflict in Africa

Funder: £2 million project is funded by a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (through the Global Challenges Research Fund) and the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

Twitter: @GoodfellowTom


Dr Tom Goodfellow (University of Sheffield, Urban Studies & Planning)

Dr Melanie Lombard (University of Sheffield, Urban Studies & Planning)

Dr Lindsay Sawyer (University of Sheffield, Urban Studies & Planning)

Dr Dan Hammett (University of Sheffield, Department of Geography)