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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

UN Survey Says Africa’s Best Are Emigrating

Posted by hkarner - 26. Oktober 2019

Date: 25-10-2019

Many Europeans are apprehensive about migrants coming to the continent. The United Nations has surveyed some 3,000 immigrants from African countries about their personal histories and plans — and came to some astonishing conclusions.

Who are „the“ migrants from African countries who enter the European Union illegally? They are sometimes portrayed as a homogenous group — and many people bitterly complain about them to score political points.

But the vast majority are people who have left their homelands in search of a safer and better life in a foreign country. They are fleeing poverty, a lack of opportunities and a lack of social safety nets.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has devoted an extensive survey to this group and published the results under the title „Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe.“

Some 3,000 adults from 43 African countries were surveyed. The survey does not include those who said that they fled their homes because of war or political persecution. This reduced the sample group to those Africans who were looking for a better life in Europe, but were not allowed to do so because of European immigration laws. Researchers encountered them living in tent cities in the Spanish town of Lepe, where they toil away in greenhouses — but also in rental apartments with their partners and children in places like Madrid, Rome and Frankfurt.

The results show that some of the supposed certainties about African immigrants to Germany are true, while others are not — both in terms of their social backgrounds and reasons for emigrating.

Where do the immigrants come from?

Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of the surveyed immigrants come from the relatively prosperous and peaceful region of West Africa, primarily Nigeria and Senegal. In addition, most immigrants are better educated than their peers at home. Fifty-eight percent had regular jobs in their home countries or were pursuing an education before they left for Europe. And their earnings were higher than the national average.

They earned significantly more — 60 percent more — than their fellow citizens in their countries of origin, and thus were relatively well-off. Nevertheless, half of those who had a steady income say that it wasn’t enough to live on.

The vast majority of migrants were between 20 and 29 years old when they set off for Europe, and a quarter of them were married or in a committed relationship. Roughly one-third of the men and more than half of the women (58 percent) already had one or more children.

Based on all of these results, researchers came to the well-documented conclusion that migration is a step that only becomes possible when people experience economic and social improvements in their situation. As prosperity increases, it gives people the idea and the opportunity to embark on their journey.

What triggered their decision to leave — and what would have held them back?

A large proportion of the migrants who managed to scale Europe’s fences had jobs and a good education.

But the economic situation remained unbearable for many of them. Not surprisingly, 60 percent of respondents cited work and the ability to send money to their families back home as the most important reason for coming to Europe.

However, the researchers point out that this was almost never the only reason. Nearly all of them indicated two or more reasons — and the ranking of these influencing factors is interesting. The most commonly cited second reason — i.e. after the ability to earn money — was for 26 percent of the respondents the poor „governance/security context“ in their home countries.
Europe has instituted a wide range of border protection measures that make it difficult for African migrants to enter the continent. There are practically no legal means, aside from pursuing studies or landing an extremely well-paid job that is arranged in advance.

Consequently, over 1,000 people have drowned in 2019 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean on unseaworthy vessels. And many — some say even more than at sea — are dying of thirst in the Sahara, which migrants from almost every African country have to cross without the option of flying.

Virtually all migrants experienced a horrific journey. More than half were by no means naïve, and 56 percent said they had expected dangers during their journey. Nevertheless, more than half of the men and two-thirds of the women said that the perils of the trip to Europe were worse than expected.
This raised the following question: What would have dissuaded them from undertaking this arduous, expensive and dangerous journey?

In view of European campaigns to deter migrants even before they leave, two answers are particularly intriguing: Neither more information about what life is actually like in Europe nor more knowledge about the dangers of traveling would have prevented migrants from setting off. In fact, in response to the question „What would have made you change your mind about coming to Europe?“ most respondents replied „nothing.“ The second most cited response was: „improved economic circumstances at home.“

This is also astonishing because life in Europe is extremely hard for African migrants who are forced to eke out a precarious existence as illegal immigrants. Despite the aspirations of most migrants to earn money and regularly send some of their earnings back home, only relatively few of them manage to enter the job market.
This is primarily because most are banned from working. Although the study also surveyed migrants who have been living in Germany for more than 10 years, the majority (64 percent) said they were not allowed to work in their host country. Those who do manage to find a job are often grossly overqualified. One-fifth of the men work as fruit and vegetable pickers, and more than a third of the women have cleaning-related jobs or serve as domestic helpers. And if they do manage to land a job, their average salary is below the minimum wage of their respective host countries.

An important motivating factor is to support their families back home, which an impressive 78 percent of working migrants manage to do — and they send on average almost as much money home as they previously earned in their home countries.

Even though the average wage of 1,020 dollars a month that was calculated by the study must sound luxurious to the relatives back home, this is of course not a lot of money at European prices. But the researchers also calculated that, when adjusted for purchasing power, low-income earners in Europe still earn much more money than they would in their countries of origin.

From a European perspective, the housing situation is alarming. Although it improves from year to year, depending on how long migrants have been living in Europe, the figures for those who arrived between 2005 and 2010 still reveal many precarious living situations.

On the positive side, almost two-thirds of the immigrants from this group have managed to get into a rental apartment, many of which are subsidized by the state. But, roughly a decade after their arrival, one in six still lives in a shelter or a camp. And more than one in 10 are homeless.

Racism in Europe almost invariably hits African immigrants hard, as they are readily recognizable as migrants. In the six months preceding the interviews, 13 percent were victims of a crime; in more than 50 percent of the cases this was verbal abuse, and in nearly 30 percent of the cases it was an actual physical assault.

It may come as a surprise given the hardships they face, but most respondents nevertheless prefer to live in Europe, at least in terms of their financial situation and personal security. Nearly all found that their lives were better in this respect than in Africa. However, they do encounter emotional and social difficulties, prompting one-third to say that life is worse in this respect in Europe than in their countries of origin.

Based on these responses, researchers concluded that Europe should urgently change its policies toward people from African countries. Those who managed to earn money and send it home said that they intended to return to Africa in the medium term. Some also stated that their illegal status actually prevented them from returning home, even if they wanted to go back to their home countries.

If it were easier to acquire an official status and find a job, the researchers argue, the chances of migrants returning would increase, thus paving the way for what’s known as „circular migration.“

By contrast, those who earn no money due to discrimination and an undocumented status try to remain in Europe — if possible forever.

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African kleptocrats are finding it tougher to stash cash in the West

Posted by hkarner - 14. Oktober 2019

Date: 13-10-2019
Source: The Economist

The days of brazen looting and laundering have passed

Light-fingered tyrants are looking back wistfully. In past decades they could stash their illicit wealth in the West. Friendly lawyers, banks and middlemen were on hand to park the loot. Sani Abacha, the military dictator who ran Nigeria in the 1990s, deposited billions of dollars in banks across the rich world, no questions asked. Western governments often seemed equally unfussed. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, a former president of France, attended soirées in chateaux owned by the late Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa of Central Africa. Mr Bokassa would slip his guest diamonds to thank him for France’s support.

Such brazenness is becoming a bit harder to get away with. Anti-corruption campaigners and muckraking journalists have busied themselves trying to uncover stolen assets. Western governments, tired of seeing aid money stolen, have toughened up money-laundering and bribery laws. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A New Eurafrican Partnership

Posted by hkarner - 3. Oktober 2019

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is a former president of the Republic of Liberia.

Mo Ibrahim is Chair and Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Etienne Davignon is a former vice president of the European Commission, President of Friends of Europe, and Belgium’s minister of state.

To build a peaceful and prosperous future, African and European leaders must agree on a forward-looking strategy that addresses structural imbalances, harnesses the benefits of migration, and delivers tangible benefits to their citizens. Such a strategy should rest on four pillars.

ABUJA – Europe and Africa are inextricably linked by history, geography, and economic ties. Today, securing a peaceful and prosperous future on either continent requires cooperation by both – but not the donor-supplicant relationship that has defined “cooperation” in the past. Instead, leaders on both sides must build an equitable strategic relationship that benefits Europe as much as Africa, and Africa as much as Europe.

European leaders must now lay the foundations for such a relationship by agreeing on a forward-looking strategy that addresses structural imbalances, harnesses the benefits of migration, and delivers tangible benefits to their citizens, especially those who have been left behind or are particularly vulnerable to climate change. And they must commit to its long-term implementation.The pillars of such a strategy have already been identified. Since being convened last year by Friends of Europe, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and the ONE Campaign, the EU-Africa High-Level Group – of which we are all members – has been working to identify essential steps for making progress in core policy areas. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Africa’s farmers need better seeds

Posted by hkarner - 28. September 2019

Date: 26-09-2019
Source: The Economist

But governments are getting in their way

Acentury ago American crop scientists began experimenting with the plant known there as corn, and elsewhere as maize. They discovered that by crossing two inbred strains they could create seeds that would consistently grow better than either of the parent plants. It was the beginning of a seed revolution. By the 1940s American agricultural productivity was shooting up; by the 1960s Asia had joined the race, thanks to improved varieties of rice and wheat.

In most of the world, the green revolution continues. Open an American seed catalogue today and you will see dozens of varieties of each plant, many of them labelled “new” to show that they have been released or improved somehow just in the past year.

But on one continent, it never quite happened. African farmers still tend to use open-pollinated seeds held back from the previous year’s crop or commercial hybrids that were developed years ago. That’s one of the main reasons for the continent’s chronically low productivity. The average field planted with maize—Africa’s most important crop, which supplies 30% of people’s calories in some countries—yields a third as much as a Chinese maize field of the same size and just a fifth as much as an American one. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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AfCFTA: Die größte Freihandelszone der Welt soll Afrika ins Industriezeitalter katapultieren

Posted by hkarner - 5. August 2019

Auf dem Kontinent fallen fast alle Zölle. Die Erwartungen sind enorm. Aber was bringt der Handelspakt wirklich?

Andreas Sator

In der Serie alles gut? denkt STANDARD-Redakteur Andreas Sator über eine bessere Welt nach – und darüber, welchen Beitrag er leisten kann. Melden Sie sich hier für seinen kostenlosen Newsletter an.

Mehr als eine Milliarde Afrikanerinnen und Afrikaner sind seit einigen Wochen Teil von AfCFTA, des African Continental Free Trade Agreement, der gemessen an der Bevölkerung größten Freihandelszone der Welt. Auf 90 Prozent der Güter fallen die Zölle, für Unternehmer die Reisebeschränkungen. 54 von 55 Ländern des Kontinents sind dabei, Ausnahme ist das autoritäre Eritrea. AfCFTA wird helfen, sagt Ökonom Augustin Fosu, kann aber nur der Anfang sein. Fosu forscht an der Universität Ghana und ist einer der renommiertesten Ökonomen Afrikas. Er war Chefökonom der UN-Kommission für Afrika und beriet den Präsidenten von Ghana.

Eine Textilfabrik im Hawassa-Industriepark in Äthiopien. Afrikanische Länder wollen weniger abhängig von Rohstoffexporten werden. Ein Handelspakt soll dabei jetzt helfen.

STANDARD: Was bringt AfCFTA? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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In Praise of Demographic Decline

Posted by hkarner - 3. Juli 2019

Adair Turner, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and former Chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority, is Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission. His latest book is Between Debt and the Devil.

Our expanding ability to automate human work across all sectors – agriculture, industry, and services – makes an ever-growing workforce increasingly irrelevant to improvements in human welfare. That’s good news for most of the world, but not for Africa.

LONDON – Every two years, the United Nations issues its latest estimate of future population trends. Its 2019 projection reveals a stark divide. Across all of Asia, Europe, and the Americas, population stability has already been achieved or soon will be, with the median projection suggesting an increase from 6.4 billion today to 6.5 billion in 2100, a rise of just 2%. By contrast, the UN projects that Africa’s population will soar from 1.34 billion to 4.28 billion.

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Te Problem With EU Foreign Policy

Posted by hkarner - 25. April 2019

Date: 24-04-2019
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

Too much historical baggage

Several mirage 2000 fighter jets took off from an air base in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital, on February 3rd and flew north over the savannah and the scrubby Sahel towards the Sahara Desert. There the French planes bombed a column of some 50 lorries carrying rebels south from the Libyan border. Paris’s action was co-ordinated not with the rest of the eu, but with Chad’s brutal government and Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan warlord who controls swathes of his country. Today France is still backing General Haftar as he shells the post-Qaddafi “government of national accord” in Tripoli. On April 10th Paris blocked an eu statement urging him to stop, infuriating its European allies.

Africa is churning and Asia is rising. President Donald Trump has raised doubts about the transatlantic alliance. Europe’s share of the world’s population and wealth is shrinking. Yet the eu still generates 22% of global gdp. And its members are trying to act more as one. In 1993 the eu established a mechanism for a “Common Foreign and Security Policy”. In 2011 it created the “European External Action Service”, a form of diplomatic corps, and a “high representative” to lead it (currently Federica Mogherini, an Italian). In the decade since then it has brokered a deal curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and taken on pirates near the Horn of Africa. In February it held its first summit with the Arab League and on April 9th it deployed newly tough language in a summit with China. Its new “Permanent Structured Co-operation” provides a framework for mutual defence and inspires talk of a “European army”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Facebook Looks to Build Underwater Ring Around Africa

Posted by hkarner - 9. April 2019

Date: 08-04-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Plans for undersea cable, dubbed ‘Simba,’ are aimed at lowering its bandwidth costs and strengthening link to African market

Facebook’s project would give its European and Asian data centers a dedicated and reliable link to growing African markets.
Facebook Inc. is circling Africa. Literally.

The company is in talks to develop an underwater data cable that would encircle the continent, according to people familiar with the plans, an effort aimed at driving down its bandwidth costs and making it easier for the social media giant to sign up more users.

The three-stage project, named Simba after the lead character in “The Lion King,” could link up with beachheads in several countries on the continent’s eastern, western and Mediterranean coasts, though the exact route and number of landings is in flux, the people said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The African Threat

Posted by hkarner - 25. November 2018

Date: 23-11-2018
Source: Project Syndicate by Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo is a global economist and author of four New York Times bestselling books. Her latest book, Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Create Economic Growth and How to Fix It, was published in April 2018.

Although international engagement with Africa has evolved over time, it has never succeeded in putting the region on a path toward long-term and sustainable growth and development. Today, continued failure could expose the world to a new age of pandemics, terror, and mass migration.

NEW YORK – If the world never had to hear about Africa again, would anyone care? Setting aside Africa’s cultural contributions, I suspect that for many people the honest answer is “no.”

Ten years ago, in my book Dead Aid, I highlighted how a narrative backed by international aid policy cemented Africa’s status as the world’s problem child, rather than one destined for greatness.

Over the years, false starts on the continent have led to cynicism and despair. Once a repository of progressive aspiration, Africa has become the source of some of the greatest threats to the global economic order. Rather than capitalizing on opportunities, international engagement is increasingly focused on mitigating risks. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Fortress Europe versus Eurafrica, that is the question

Posted by hkarner - 22. September 2018

Date: 20-09-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne
Subject: Why Europe should focus on its growing interdependence with Africa

Sealing the Mediterranean will not work

IT IS a peculiarly modern habit to think of the Mediterranean Sea as a boundary. For over two millennia, civilisations bled across it and intermingled. Roman, Carthaginian, Moorish and Venetian empires expanded primarily along maritime routes. It took four days to get from imperial Rome to today’s Tunisia, but 11 days to reach Milan. The Sahara restricted contact between this Mediterranean Eurafrica and the regions to the south, but not entirely. A study of 22 skulls from Roman London found that four were African, for example. The medieval wealth of desert trading cities like Timbuktu and Agadez spoke of extensive north-south commerce. Later European colonialists penetrated, pillaged and parcelled up the continent; African troops fought in the trenches of the first world war; Europeans fought in Africa in the second.

Three subsequent events curbed this trans-Mediterraneanism. European powers left Africa with decolonisation; many African states sought to be neutral during the cold war; Europeans turned towards Asia’s booming markets as globalisation took hold. Tellingly, the geopolitical buzzword of the moment is “Eurasia”. Europe and Asia are integrating along old Silk Road routes, especially under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure splurge, yet “Eurafrica” remains relatively little discussed. Europe is too busy rushing into Asia’s arms to embrace a continent on its doorstep which may be even more significant in the long term.

Today’s waves of African migration are merely a prelude. Of the 2.2bn citizens added to the global population by 2050, 1.3bn will be Africans—about the size of China’s population today. And more of them will have the means to travel. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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