Wednesday, June 22, 2022

More Young Africans Consider Emigration

Yesterday, I was reading Understanding Immigration Law (as one does on a Tuesday morning) and I was particularly struck by this quote from sociologist Rubén G. Rumbaut (U.C. Irvine) at the start of the book: "in a world of 6.5 billion people, 98 percent are 'stayers,' living in the country of their birth..." Now this quote dates to 2005, I don't know if Rumbaut would make the same pronouncement today, but it's an absolutely fascinating perspective.

Rumbaut's quote was lingering in the back of my mind when I (re)read this recent BBC article regarding the mobility of African youth. The article begins with this payoff statement:

A new survey of more than 4,500 young people in Africa, aged 18-24, has found that 52% of them are likely to consider emigrating in the next few years, citing economic hardship and education opportunities as the top reasons.

52%! That's really high.

The BBC goes on to interview 5 young Africans in depth to discuss their particular feelings about emigrating. Their statements covered everything from the kidnapping and ransom crisis in Nigeria (I didn't know about that!) to lack of job opportunities.

Here are some interesting quotes from two interviewees considering leaving their countries:

  • 18-year-old Ayoade Oni from Nigeria: "90% if not all of" [his friend want to leave Nigeria].
  • Mapula Maake, 23, from South Africa: "Migration might be the only solution to this rather saturated job market."
  • Ivor Ichikowitz (survey designer): "This group of people, 18 to 24 year olds in Africa, are saying: 'We are going to improve our lives, even if it means having to up and leave and go somewhere else.'"

Here are some interesting quotes from two interviewees looking to stay:

  • 24-year-old Julius Kwame Anthony, the former head of the National Union of Ghana Students: "Relocating abroad may look rosy but nothing is really promised out there."
  • 33-year-old Ghanian businessman Ernest Larmie: "This is home, if I'm able to solve the problems here, when the next generation comes, they can also benefit ," he says, questioning the logic behind moving abroad, just to help another country develop at the expense of your own.


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