EDITORIAL: Migration is not a curse but a blessing

Migration has been the buzz word for some time now. Europe is reeling under the weight of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.

Migration has been the buzz word for some time now. Europe is reeling under the weight of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.

They make treacherous journeys across the Mediterranean just to reach European shores; a gateway to what they believe to be a better way of life. Only the lucky ones aboard rickety and overcrowded boats make it safely.

 

Some countries have turned hostile to the refugees by erecting barbed wire fences to keep the migrants out. We are bombarded everyday with the misery the refugees live because of the presence of hordes of media.

 

But away from the glare of the lights, in the remote islands of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru, Australia is unloading its asylum problems. Asylum seekers are interned there in prison like processing centre. Those deemed to be genuine refugees do not go to Australia but are resettled in PNG.

 

In the ongoing African Development Week taking place in Ethiopia, migrants are regarded in a different light.

Experts there said migration has more opportunities than challenges but that there was need for better migration management in Africa in order for the continent to benefit.

Moreover, there is well circulated false belief that most Africans migrate to Europe yet that is just a tip of the iceberg. Most Africans migrate locally on the continent and contribute crucial remittances.

Think about this; between 1990 and 2010, remittance inflows to Africa was close to $50 Billion. In Senegal, the proportion of remittances invested in food health and education was 67%, in Nigeria it amounted to 37% while Kenya registered 30%.

So, the experts in Addis are of the view that better border management to facilitate migration will pay great dividends to Africa, but this will call for the embracing of visa free travel on the continent, and possibly, we will see fewer African bodies washed off the European coast.

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