Sub Saharan Africa witnesses highest increase in forced displacement

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Sub Saharan Africa has recorded the largest regional increase of forcibly displaced people in the world, with their numbers increasing from 14.1 million in 2016 to 18.4 million in 2017.

According to Pew Research Center analysis of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees data, the region’s displaced population has jumped by 42% since 2015. Most of this increase took place in 2017 alone.

The number of people forcefully displaced from the Middle East-North Africa region, the source of the largest number of forced displacements in the world, fell 8% between 2015 and 2017. Globally the region’s share declined from 41% of the world’s total in 2015 to 35% in 2017. The share of sub-Saharan Africa increased from 23% in 2015 to 30% in 2017.

Marred by several conflicts, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the largest internally displaced population — 4.4 million in 2017, almost the double of that in 2016 — within sub-Saharan Africa.

The Sub-Saharan African region hosted about 500,000 asylum seekers, relatively a small number, in 2017, with the vast majority coming from other sub-Saharan African countries.

“With more than a billion people living in sub-Saharan Africa, the number of displaced people in the region made up just 1.8% of the region’s population in 2017,” a statement from Pew said.

“Nonetheless, this share has increased in recent years and is at its highest level since records on displaced persons began in 1993. In 2017, only the Middle East-North Africa region had a higher share of its population living as internally displaced persons, refugees or asylum seekers (3.8%),” it added.

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