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Since the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, the issue of international migration and its relation to development has risen steadily on the agenda of the international community. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes several migration related targets and calls for regular reviews of the progress towards their achievement using data disaggregated by migratory status.

The International migration report 2017 points out that since 2000, the number of international migrants in Africa has increased by over 67%. The international migrants in COMESA have increased by 48% since 2000 from 5.8 million people to 8.7 million people in 2017.  The recent years have seen massive movement of people from different countries to other countries. This trend in movement of people is backed by socio-economic, religious and political factors.

COMESA region in mid year 2017 had a 8.7 million international migrants (both sexes). This was a combined figure of migrants that moved as a result of political unrest in their domestic countries, famine and drought, search for business opportunities among others. Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya all had over 1 million migrants in 2017. As of mid year 2017, COMESA had a record high 3.9 million estimated refugees (Including asylum seekers) with Uganda having the highst number of 1.16 million people.

Gender composition in the international migrants' stock in the region indicated 7.31% increase in males compared to the 9.67% increase in females in mid 2017. This was backed by the high rise in the Ugandan migrants of over 40%. (Source: International Migration Statistics by UN DESA and IOM report 2017)

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