Push/Pull Factors, Networks and Student Migration from Côte d’Ivoire to France and Switzerland

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Push/Pull Factors, Networks and Student Migration from Côte d’Ivoire to France and Switzerland


  • Franck Dago Department of Sociology, University Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Simon Barussaud IDESO–Institute of Demographic and Socioeconomic Studies, University of Geneva, Switzerland


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Abstract:  Since 2011, the Ivorian government has invested heavily in higher education to meet its labour market’s growing demand. In this article, we analyse the drivers of Ivorian student mobility from Côte d’Ivoire to France and Switzerland, highlighting the central role of migrant networks. We focus on the decision-making process and find that migration networks play an important role at every step: from initial aspirations to concrete plans and efforts to study abroad. Using 38 in depth interviews and two focus groups with Ivorian students who aspire to study in France and Switzerland, members of the education board, migration officers, and members of the Ivorian diaspora, we reveal that the functioning of the Ivorian higher education system is a factor of uncertainty for many students who consider that salvation can only come from migration. In addition, social representations linked to foreign diplomas inspire Ivorian students to choose international mobility. Migrant networks further encourage Ivorian students to move abroad because stories from successful migrants sharing their mobility experience are coupled with the provision of key resources to support mobility projects.

Keywords:  Côte d’Ivoire; decision-making process; migration aspirations; migration network; student mobility

Published:   25 March 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i1.3698


© Franck Dago, Simon Barussaud. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.