This paper discusses the confused interpretation of the meaning of the local settlement option in Africa. There is a tendency among scholars and international agencies to use local settlement and local integration synonymously. This view is criticized. It is argued that local integration and local settlements are two separate conceptual categories with different substantive definitional meanings not only to the host populations and governments, but also to the refugees and international agencies concerned. Local settlements in the eyes of African host populations, host governments and refugees do not represent a solution. They are seen as temporary sites where refugees are provided with assistance by the refugee support systems to become self-supporting until the circumstances that prompted them to flee cease to exist.

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