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Africa’s migration shouldn’t be motivated by conflict

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Added 7th November 2017 11:07 AM

Africa has a big role to play for its rural residents, if it is to halt migration. The causes of exodus of people from their homes need a permanent solution

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Simon Mone

By Simon J Mone

The migration story continues and people are on the move. All kinds of factors for mass exodus of needy people are in the spotlight. In Africa, we will probably make it our pre-occupation for a long time to come.

We know that about every country in sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to cope with huge numbers of displaced people. One wonders how this can be with all the regional bodies in Africa, who should be conscious about the welfare of their citizens.

East and west Africa are probably battling the biggest numbers. The north as well, on top of their own, is struggling to contain Africans on the move from crossing over to Europe through the famous Mediterranean Sea.

So there is no stopping the rural Africans from their zeal to motion away from trouble. The dynamics and drivers of migration are dominantly varied.

And with an exploded population of the sub-Sahara, which has increased by 645 million between 1975 and 2015, the type and complexity of conflict has forced migration to metamorphose in style.

This population is still on the upward trend, expected to be about 1.4 billion people in 40 years’ time (by 2055). By this time, sub-Sahara will probably be the only region in which population will continue to get out of hand.

Africa has a big role to play for its rural residents, if it is to halt migration. The causes of exodus of people from their homes need a permanent solution. It is no doubt a constant pain for the world. A lot more people are fleeing from home to try and find better opportunities; peace, jobs and all.

There will be a lot of pressure put on basic needs; food, shelter, education, medication and job. Of the people that have been severely affected by the migration, we see that a majority are young people, falling in the age group of 15 and 34.

Instead of being in school or doing some income activity to support their livelihoods, they have no chance but to look for these away from home. So this big population is not for better.

It is true because currently, we are already struggling to stop wars, diseases, bad governance among all other unnecessary problems. It is a multiple challenge we are facing. Many people being born in displacement camps will need explanation in order for them to understand this abnormal.

Otherwise, to somechildren that did not have the chance to be born at home, it could easily be a normal thing. Sub-Saharan Africa, unlike many parts of the world has become more urban but with the disadvantage of being less industrialised.

It means that its people face the challenge of an informal urban sector. This is characterised by persistent poverty and limited formal employment opportunities which leaves a majority of people redundant. With redundancy, there is potentially increased crime.

So the complexity of factors driving migration makes it impossible to see where the migration solutions will come from. Crucial variables such as weather events, poverty, hunger, job opportunities and quality of governance continue to throw the spanner in the migration works.

But the starting point in order to manage migration in the future is first and foremost to concentrate on the trying to eliminate the causes of migration. Look at developing the small rural habitats.

Ensure that young people are a part of it; make quality services reach the rural group. The decision of rural Africa to leave their homes should not be motivated by survival or search for a decent life. It should rather be inspired by the zeal for exposure to new experiences.

Young people should be encouraged to visit other countries, get some skills and return home. Stopping migration is not possible at this time without looking at the causes. So let’s encourage safe, orderly and meaningful migration.

The writer is a civil engineer

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