2015 Was Only the Beginning

Migration and Africa researcher Stephen Smith is convinced that the number of people who migrate from Africa will increase, for several reasons. 

Smith write in his new book, The rush to Europe, that the pressure on Europe from African migrants will increase. The population in Africa keeps growing and by 2050 the continent will be the home to 2,5 billion people. The rate of mortality is decreasing, but the number of born children decreases more slowly because of the resistence towards family planning. Africa need to create 22 million jobs every year, but only 2 millions are created now.

The population in Africa is young. 40% are under 15 years old and polls show that 40% of young adults want to emigrate. For them the life in Europe isn’t only about getting a job. The allure is also about freeing yourself from the old cultural social structures in their countries. 

The prerequisite for being able to migrate is that you have money and today you need at least €2 500 to make it from Africa to Europe. From that we can draw the conclusion that it isn’t the poorest that go to Europe. Economical growth in Africa and a growing middle class is a must for the migration. Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa now have the income per capita that Mexico had in the 1970s when it’s citizens started to leave for the US. 

The aid given to Africa to help them develop their countries actually contribute to the migration on the short and medium term. But for the long-term it will make Africa more stable. The newcomers in Europe have a tendency to seek out people from their own country which creates the parallell societys that have already become a problem. 

Smith says that the solution isn’t to close Europe and even if the politicians negotiate with other countries not to let in immigrants it won’t be enough. The pressure from all the immigrants is far to foreceful. Smith proposes a circular migration where the immigrant gets to stay for a while and then go home with the promise to return. I don’t see how that will work practically.

Smith says that the wave that hit us in 2015 was only the beginning.

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