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Africa’s economic migrants will go back home

According to the World Bank, excluding South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa continued to grow strongly in 2013 with output increasing by 6.0 percent, well above the global gross domestic product (GDP) average of 2.4 percent. “Africa’s poverty rates have continued to decline, despite the adverse effects of the recent food, fuel, and global economic crisis”, added the UNDP’s MDG Report 2014. “Sub-Saharan Africa anticipates continued strong growth in much of Sub-Saharan Africa, driven by efforts to invest in infrastructure and by strong agricultural production,” wrote the IMF’s October 2014 Regional Economic Report. Consequently, one can say the perspectives for Africa’s economy as a whole look better than ever. Yet, the unprecedented wave of migrants willing to risk their lives in order to land on European shores highlighted that much remains to be done for Africa’s high level of economic growth to turn into durable development for all on the continent.

Although a portion of the African migrants do seek asylum in Europe because war is raging where they used to live, most of them had their risky voyage motivated by economic reasons. Their number has reached such records high that the European Union has decided to establish a new program for rapid return of irregular migrants, this way targeting directly the economic migrants whose motivations will now likely be considered insufficient compared to migrants from other regions who fled war-torn countries, mainly Libya, Syria and Iraq. The situation has become so serious that even the UN has a preference about who’s got to stay in Europe and who’s got to go back home. What’s now called the Mediterranean crisis is indicative of the state of the EU’s economy that can no longer afford to welcome everybody. It tells even more about Africa’s economic growth that doesn’t benefit everyone but seems encouraging enough for the EU to craft a “resettlement policy” shortly.

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