African leaders must take lead in solving migration crisis – Kagame

Journalists at President Kagame’s news conference shortly after the end of Umushyikirano. Village Urugwiro.

African leaders must ensure that citizens feel secure and are economically and socially empowered if the continent is to address the migration of Africans to Europe, according to President Paul Kagame.

Kagame also believes that receiving countries should be tolerant enough to treat immigrants humanely as stakeholders engage in seeking appropriate and lasting solution to the matter.

The President said this during a post-national dialogue news conference. The two-day Umushyikirano ended on Friday.

“I mainly think we should solve the problem at the source,” President Kagame said, adding, “It doesn’t matter that we could also solve the problem at the other end, but I think that we need to start from home.”

In our own countries, the Head of State said, we should do everything we can to address the social, political and economic problems for development.

“That is the first thing that can help retain our young people and keep them here.”

As of June this year, at least 792 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, according to the United Nations.

UN also indicated that through the first five months of 2018, some 35,455 migrants reached European shores, with 11,792 of them arriving in Spain.

The UN described the immigration influx in the Mediterranean as crisis of “epic proportions,” in a statement issued in April, calling the European Union to establish comprehensive response.

Kagame says that no African youth must leave the continent running for their life let alone seeking greener pastures anywhere else.

He said that African youth should be able to find all solutions and opportunities in their home countries.

“If they (Africans) are to go outside – to Europe or to any other part of the world – then [it should happen] in an orderly manner, in an orderly fashion where we are not dealing with a wave of people fleeing their countries under any pretext, or some genuine reasons which could be addressed genuinely without having to result into problems,” Kagame said

President Kagame, who is also the Chairperson of the African Union, stated that there should be collaboration between Europe and African Union on ensuring that immigrants who have already crossed to Europe are either facilitated to return home or reintegrated in a respectful manner.

“There should be collaboration on what affects people between Europe and Africa…let’s say, people who are already there (in Europe), how do you treat them? Can we understand that they need to be treated humanely? Some of them can even be facilitated to come back, why not? They should come back home to the countries of their origin,” Kagame noted.

He added, “And those who are to stay, it’s up to the host countries to decide on how they should stay and facilitate them.”

Kagame said that fact there’s no other “magic” in addressing immigration crisis other than solving unresolved socio-economic issues on the continent.

“As for those who haven’t left [Africa], we can work to better situations in terms of security and ensure that they have everything they need to fulfil their aspirations and stay in their countries. I don’t find any other magic of dealing with that particular problem,” Kagame said.