Migration crisis: Hope not lost for Africa’s youths -AfDB

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it is working with critical partners to develop the capacity of African youths so they could begin to see opportunities on the continent.

This is in a bid to reduce migration of Africa youths to Europe, Senior Director, African Development Institute of the African Development Bank Group, Prof. Kevin Urama said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Urama spoke on the sidelines of the Board of Governors Meeting of the African Capacity Building Foundation (AFCB), in Yaounde, Cameroon.

He said Africa could not continue to lose its youths at their prime in the name of finding greener pasture abroad due to lack of jobs, adequate educational opportunities, natural and man-made disaster.

He said that it was time for African youth to realise that their future does not lie at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Director said Africa holds lots of wealth creation opportunities for its youths in agriculture, ICT and small and medium size businesses, therefore they should not risk their lives trying to smuggle themselves to Europe.

“The African youth needs to have opportunities in their countries. In the rural areas and in the cities to be able to deploy their skills in order to achieve a living.

“The African Capacity Building Foundation, the AfDB and all the other development agencies in Africa are mandated to help build capacity in Africa for development.

“This is so that African youth can see opportunities on the continent,” he said.

Urama said the major bottleneck to job creation on the continent was that Africa’s population was accelerating very fast while its economies were growing at a much slower pace.

“The challenges of the African youth is enormous. African population is growing very fast. In some countries even more than GDP.

“Opportunities are dwindling for many African youth in many places and that is why many of them sometimes try to seek opportunities elsewhere, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

“The problem is how they seek for opportunities, where they seek the opportunities and how we as Africans are providing opportunities for youths in their places of origin to be able to deploy their skills in moving forward,” he said.

Urama highlighted some of the AfDB strategies to addressing the high rate of youth unemployment on the continent.

For starters, he said that AfDB believed that improving access to electricity would create more economic opportunities especially for the youth.

“Even insects migrate from the places of darkness to places of light. So where there are no light, no energy, no electricity for youths to deploy their skills in small scale industries in rural areas, they just migrate.

“Also, we are determined to feed Africa. A hungry man or woman is an angry person. So if we are not able to feed our youths, they migrate to cities where they can find food.
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“Similarly, we believe that industralising Africa will create structural transformation of the continent.

” I do believe that African youth are very skilled and entrepreneurial, sometimes even more than anywhere else I’ve seen in the world.

“If given the right support, they will deploy those skills to build the continent, he said.

Urama urged African states to invest in capacity building and capacity strengthening of its people and institutions to help implement developmental programmes on the continent.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Published a research in 2018 titled “Identifying the Factors Driving West African Migration”.

The research showed That over 600 000 African migrants arrived in Italy already alone through the perilous Central Mediterranean route, in 2016 and nearly 120 000 arrived in 2017.

The study showed that thousands of Africans have died in the Mediterranean route trying to cross to Europe where they believed holds better opportunities for them.

According to the study, half of Nigerians are interested in leaving their country of origin if given the opportunity, which is above the number in neighbouring
countries.

The statistical analysis of the Nigeria data reveals a different set of push factors behind the desire to migrate.

In fact, economic standing has a limited effect on Nigerians’ desire to leave their home.

Instead, individual perceptions of the strength of Nigeria’s democracy are most strongly associated with Nigerians’ desire to migrate abroad in addition to low levels of trust in local security institutions.

Urban and more highly educated Nigerians, especially from Lagos, are also more likely to want to migrate abroad.

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