Kiya Gezahegne is an Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology at Addis Ababa University. She is also an honorary Research Associate at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. 

Her research interests span migration and enforced displacement – particularly in relation to gender, conflict, and migration management. She has a specific interest in identity issues in relation to mobility – how migrants look at themselves, and how they are perceived by host communities.

Kiya has worked with international organisations like the International Organization for Migration and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and she provides policy recommendations to the Government of Ethiopia.

When relatives ask, “why would we study migration?”, Kiya replies:

“I study mobility in general. This is part of our lives – for every one of us – and what I do is to understand why people move around and how that has an impact on individuals, and also on the community in the country at large.”

In the Horn of Africa, “the whole definition of migration” and how we categorise people on the move has been debated for many years. Yet “these are communities that have similar cultures, have similar socio-economic backgrounds”. So migration and mobility is not an “external factor – it’s part of everyday life”.

So how does everyday mobility in the Horn of Africa inspire us to think differently about development?

In Ethiopia, Kiya says, “we believe mobility is very much essential for the development of the country and also for the development of the region because it opens up opportunities that are not there for locals…not only [does it] bring in money, but also it brings a sense of one large community in the region.”

Research by Kiya Gezahegne

  • Webinar: Migration Management in the Greater Horn of Africa

    This webinar explores current migration management programs in the Horn of Africa through the lens of various actors such as local populations, civil society, local and national governments, and international organizations.

  • Is the state fuelling the migration industry? The migration economy of Metema

    Besides regulating migration, the state is involved in the migration industry along the route between Ethiopia and Sudan, both directly and indirectly.

  • A state-incorporated business: the migration economy along the Ethiopia–Sudan border town of Metema

    Kiya Gezahegne, Department of Social Anthropology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia Abstract The pattern of migration from Ethiopia to Sudan, through the Metema border town, has proved complex and is expanding,