President Paul Kagame has said that young Africans should leverage available technology to create jobs and integrate into the European labour market without necessarily migrating to other countries. He said this while addressing the Talking Africa Europe debate on migration and mobility in Africa-Europe partnerships, on Thursday, January 27. Organised by the Africa-Europe Foundation, the discussion is among other topics prepared to pave the way for the upcoming African Union-European Union Summit. Kagame said there are several reasons why Africans migrate to Europe, “some of them are justified, others are not, but they are either political, economic, security, all wrapped up on matters of governance.” “Dangerous journeys continue to cause loss of lives and empower criminal network, we need new thinking and action to give us the results we want. To make progress, we must collectively diagnose the root cause of migration,” he said. He recommended that wide access to digital skills and technologies is one of the most strategic ways to modernize the migration policy debate. “It is no longer necessary to relocate to Europe in order to participate directly in the European labour market. Young Africans can do so from Africa with private-public technology investments that create jobs.” Overall, he added, “our starting point is that every young African should be able to lead a dignified, productive, and safe life on the African continent, whether in their home country or elsewhere in Africa.” If Africans would be comfortable staying in their own countries and at the same time allowed to move from one country to another, then some of these problems would be reduced to the minimum, he added. Effective migration mechanisms should be put in place The president said that both continents can benefit from migration provided that it is orderly, safe, and focused on the needs and aspirations of each person. All countries have the right to control their borders and regulate immigration, he said, settling in another country by anyone is not an automatic entitlement. “There needs to be a better mechanism in place to distinguish between irregular migrants from relatively stable countries and those deserving of special protection who may get lost in the crowd.” He added that more efforts need to be made by engaging stakeholders on all sides of the migration issue, particularly, the civil society and advocacy groups. Pointing at the Emergency Transit Mechanism established in Rwanda in 2018 to receive vulnerable immigrants needing evacuation from Libya, Kagame said that African-European partnerships can provide protection and humanitarian assistance to those that need it. In collaboration with the African Union and UNHCR, more than 650 migrants have been welcomed and protected at the facility while waiting for resettlement processing. “Policies focused on detention, deportation and deterrence have not been effective and will not provide a lasting solution, therefore we have to be thinking differently,” said Kagame. On the other hand, the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said that African countries should be more cooperative to encourage and facilitate migrants who are not fleeing war or persecution and who are not allowed asylum status to return to their home countries. “We need to reassure to the greatest extent possible that the younger African generation has a reason and the necessary resources to stay in their home countries,” he said.