Survival or Growth: Why do African migrate?

Human migration simply means the movement of people from one place to another with the intentions of settling permanently or temporarily in a new location. The movement is often long distances and from one country to another; but internal migration is also possible. People Immigrate for different reasons; some Immigrate due to natural disasters, war, asylum seekers, education and even to seek a better life. But the major question here is “Why do Africans Immigrate?” To survive or To Grow.


Migration from Africa

Migration from Africa by Africans has been a thing of old times; Africans started migration out of its continent long ago during the slave trade era which saw many Africans been taken away to work as slaves in their master’s home country.

In recent times especially since the 20th century, Africans have continually Immigrated for one reason or another and although some of them before migrating plan to come back home but end up been away for as long as they can; even encouraging their relatives back home to join them wherever they are. Within the year of 2000-2005, an estimated 440,000 people per year Immigrated from Africa, most of them to Europe and young adults.

Many others who do leave the shores of their home of origin legally for either education or work end up staying and never coming back. Many has attributed this to the poor standard of living in most African countries, lack of good and quality paying jobs, poor health care and lifestyle to mention but a few.


Reasons for Immigration

The most commonly cited reason for migration by Africans to foreign countries beyond its shores revolves around the search for economic opportunities and jobs. There is however an increasing realization that migration often involves a mixture of reasons. So, using the term “economic reasons” is an injustice to the migrant who Immigrated for another reason. Some have attributed their migration to the absence of a level playing field in their home country’s economy; without knowing the right kind of people or been from a particular circle of influence, one would have to pay huge bribes to grow further in life. Others attribute it to war in their communities or countries of origin and for many other reasons. All these summaries to highlight the poor rate of governance in some African countries, poor education system and lack of investment in sectors that would provide jobs.


Recent Immigration Trends from Africa

In recent times, Africans who immigrate from their home country have done so through a number of ways. Some do by going legally at first but after their visa is expired, they never return preferring to run and hide from the authorities and live a better life than coming home to abject poverty and bad governance that would do them no good.

The most thronged route by young Africans looking to immigrate out of the African continent to Europe is by road. Many of them embark on this pain staking, life threatening journey with no hopes of making it to their destination; reports have shown that during this journey many have lost their life to hunger, thirsty or even been abandoned or sold as slaves, but still, many take this route. One of the majorly traveled routes for this kind of immigration is through the Agadez desert to Libya and then through the Mediterranean Sea which proves this journey to be a life threatening one.

When asked, some of these young Africans immigrating through this difficult journey said the reason they still go ahead to embark on this trip at the expense of their life is because they feel they don’t have a life in their home country or any hope of becoming a person of value in life if they remain in their home country. The promise of a better life, good income from doing menial jobs and most importantly but may seem absurd to many the assurance of good three-square meal and providing for their suffering families back home is more than the price they have to pay by putting their lives at risk to embark on this journey.


Governments role in Immigration

The government of many African countries in their own way has contributed to the massive rate of immigration out of their countries. The poor rate of governing, the lack of jobs or proper education, poor health care and not creating investment opportunities that would provide jobs for young immigrants to stay back in their home countries. Governments can do better at helping to reduce the immigration rate and save the lives of their young adults who are more prone to immigrate by creating jobs, providing for the average citizen the basic amenities that would make living comfortable in their countries.

Much efforts have not been made on the part of governments from African countries, especially the ones with high immigration rate to create opportunities and make living much more comfortable for their citizens.


African Students Studying Abroad

Africans have always immigrated to foreign countries to study because of their educational standards. In a bid to get a higher qualification, which has more recognition, the influx of African students to international institutions is high. But after education many do not want to return home; due to the fact that the economy of foreign countries is much better and accommodating.

Even if coming back home would favor Africans who studied abroad much better, many still prefer to be stay back there. Some say its because they cannot come back to a country of poor living due to the fact that they are already accustomed to the good life they are living in the countries where they study. Yes no one can give up on good health care, good living standard and many more.

If African governments wants to make their home countries comfortable for its citizens and encourage them to come back home, they should create these standard of living in their home countries.


Afrikagora Magazine




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