Rural Refugees in Africa: Past Experience, Future Pointers

Rapid change In rural Africa raises new policy problems In dealing with mass influxes of rural refugees. Self-settlement in agriculture has become less feasible and is less acceptable now that Its disadvantages are better understood. Organized smallholder settlement can be a better solution where it is economically viable, refugees have freedom of movement, and staff are suitable. But growing land shortage means that Increasing proportions of refugees are being placed in camps. To offset this trend, more attention is suggested to Programs for groups of refugees, categorized by time of arrival, by ability to self-settle or to farm, and by skills and experience. Practically-oriented social science research can contribute to these and other approaches which will require imagination and ingenuity. Solutions to future rural refugee problems should be linked with Programs of social and economic development which will make easier the achievement of humanitarian objectives.