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African City Diplomacy – Municipal Purpose and Action in Transnational Migration Governance


Year published: 2022
Categories: Journal Article
URL Link: https://www.trialog-journal.de/en/journals/__trashed/

Author / Authors:

  • Janina Stürner-Siovitz



As the urbanisation of human mobility on the African continent continues to rise, African cities are increasingly impacted by migration movements and (inter)governmental migration policy-making. In this context, a small but growing number of cities have started advocating for municipal interests at the regional and global levels. Exploring the emergence of African city diplomacy in transnational migration governance, this article asks: What motivates local governments to claim agency in a policy field where their national counterparts hold (mostly) exclusive competencies? And how do these motivations shape transnational municipal action? Building on a qualitative research design, this article shows that African cities engage in different forms of city diplomacy, including: (1) participating in city networks, (2) contributing to migration narratives, (3) setting transnational municipal standards, and (4) demanding a seat at migration policy-making tables. This article finds that African city diplomacy pursues practical, symbolic and jurisgenerative purposes. Overall, city representatives engaging in symbolic actions and jurisgenerative activities aim to achieve practical objectives – gaining multi-stakeholder cooperation and funding to develop local solutions.

Trialog - A Journal for Planning and Building in a Global Context #140/141 “Cities and Displacement”. Volume editors: Eva Dick, Einhard Schmidt-Kallert and Benjamin Schraven


  • Journal Article