Time for Africa to be Proactive
In a report on migration titled ‘International Migration in Africa: Framing The Issues’ released during the 9th conference of African finance ministers at the on-going African Development week (#ADW2016) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it was realized that migration streams within Africa are much larger than those out of Africa. This results in more than half of those migrating internationally doing so within Africa, with only about 28% of migrants from Africa going to Europe. Of the total migrant stock in Europe, less than 12% are from Africa.
What this report is saying is that majority of those who leave African countries in search of greener pastures do not actually leave the continent; they move in a circle, over-burdening the infrastructure and facilities and then slowing down development rate some more.
There are two options: we either look at this situation as a problem or as a condition that can be turned around.
It is equally important for me to point out that in destination countries, migrants do not only do jobs that the local citizens of that country do not want to do but in most cases, create jobs for themselves. What this tells us is that the role of migration in development must not be overlooked.
The next question would be: do we realize the fact that migrants contribute to the development of regions? Harnessing opportunities within African countries would maintain and sustain these migrants from moving out of Africa.
Intra region moving could mean a whole lot for the continent than the moving to Europe. Remittances from internal migrants are about four times more than international migrants. They get to the remotest parts of Africa, something these international migrations cannot do.
Not to confuse refugees for migrants, refugees for some reason or the other may not return to their countries. One of such examples is caused by conflict and severe human rights violation, as well as exploitation of economic resources. This raises the question of ensuring security in these disaster prone areas and ensuring that these places are not abandoned but instead, given the opportunity to develop and provide the needed growth facilities.
In the next 15 years, Africa would have to find jobs for 350million people. The doubling of population within the next thirty years will lead to migration both inside and outside.
Right now, because of the high rate of movement into urban areas, migrants are seen as contributing to poverty and crowding facilities in these urban places. But instead of focusing on sending them back without anything to look forward to, we should note that rural-urban migrants play a big role in the urbanization and poverty alleviation of these places.
If we have adequate infrastructure, facilities and a stable economy, refugee status can change along migratory routes, relieving governments of continually having to provide them with aids.
What is the next course of action? Reviewing tax laws to improve our weakened system to stop illicit outflow from the continent, so we can provide adequate security for the disaster prone areas, develop the rural areas by investing in Agriculture, upgrading and expanding urban facilities to cater for increasing population of people in the cities, and to begin a process of preparing for the population boom that is bound to hit us in the next 15 years.