African migrants are following their resources plundered by the West

As for the long term, the solution can only come from dealing with the root causes that lead to so many of our youth feeling so hopeless that they are prepared to take inordinate risks to flee their misery.
Illegal immigrants detained at Abu Salim detention centre in Tripoli, Libya. / Internet photo
Illegal immigrants detained at Abu Salim detention centre in Tripoli, Libya. / Internet photo

Editor

RE: “Rwanda opens doors to stranded migrants: Will others follow suit?” (The New Times, November 23).

Whether others emulate Rwanda or not, this decision is the right one. 

Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo explained it very well indeed: Given our own history of oppression and misery, we can have no right to turn our backs on fellow Africans in similar, even if not exactly similar situations.

Let those with some milk of humanity do their part, if they will. This is only for the short-term.

As for the long term, the solution can only come from dealing with the root causes that lead to so many of our youth feeling so hopeless that they are prepared to take inordinate risks to flee their misery. 

True, the governments of the source countries have to shoulder a large share of the blame for mismanaging their affairs in such a way that the conditions have become so dire many young people see no future at home, and are so desperate to try elsewhere that they ignore all the dangers both the journey and the destinations hold. When in a frying pan, the fire itself may seem more enticing.

Beyond the source countries’ own governments, the very countries that never cease to give us lessons on democracy, good governance and accountability are often the biggest culprits in the misery of many African countries’ populations. It is the unfair despoliation of our resources by their enterprises and the unequal economic relations as well as the illicit financial flows from our countries to theirs (in trillions of annually) that are major causes of so much poverty of the populations of countries that are the most endowed with natural resources. 

Think of DR Congo minerals, Congolese and Gabonese oil, Niger’s uranium or the Central African Republic’s diamonds. Who do people think benefit from the full-capacity exploitation of those resources? Certainly not the populations of those countries; not even their governments, which are often hard-pressed to pay their public officials’ meagre wages. No, the lion’s share of returns to these resources go to Western multinationals and indirectly into Western countries’ tax coffers and budgets. 

It is a case of poor Africans extensively subsidizing the West. Everybody knows it; almost all pretend they don’t see it or its link to the social consequences, including the crisis of massive flight of our youth to countries whose economies depend on the exploitation of our countries’ resources. 

In a way, these young people are following their resources, even if they might not realise it in a conscious manner.

Mwene Kalinda

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