Augustine C. OhanweSaturday, September 30, 2006



pain, Italy and most recently, Malta have appealed to the European Union to assist them cope with the surging waves of illegal immigrants from Africa. Migration is not a new phenomenon but in recent time, Europe is experiencing a high rise of African immigrants reaching its shores by sea in a makeshift boat that sometimes got sunk. The fact the such journey had proved harzadous and sometimes fatal and yet, many had not been deterred from attempting to get to Europe shows how desperate these immigrants are.

Spain and Italy have initiated a repartriation agenda, which in their political calculation will send a discourging message to the would-be immigrants to Europe. Furthermore, twenty-four hour coast guards around the Mediterranean have been designed to keep the illegal immigrants at bay. Bilateral agreements with some African countries to cooperate in foiling plans of illegal imimigrants intending to migrate to Europe have also been put in place.

My position is that these deterant measures will only have an ad hoc effect. Rather than engaging in fortress Europe, effort should be invested in isolating the grass root realities that push these so-called illegal immigrants out of Africa.

On proper reflection, one would agree that the main causes of the present and unprecedented surge of migration to Europe can be located in three factors viz: The global warming, corrupt governance and unjust global economic system.

Global warming and its greenhouse emissions has drastically altered the local African climate generating famine in some states and flooding in others thereby writing gloomy epitaph for many African farmers. Many are pigeon-holed and left to rot in the jurisprudence of abject poverty. One of the resultant consequencies is to migrate to Europe.

The second factor that has compounded the African misery and has impacted on migration is centrigugal in nature. It is corrupt governabce and insecurity.

To be added on the list is the unjust global economic system which does not provide a level playing ground for African to participate in the global economy. The western subsidies to their famers, the highly tariffed African exports to Europe and the dumping of European goods to Africa have castrated the continent economically and created enormous unemployment. Do I have to add globalisation which is laden with economic osmosis? It blooms the western industries and makes the local African ones go caput mortuum.

Based on the recent distressing scientific prognosis that rainfall will decline as much as 10% in the Horn of Africa and in some South African states due to the on-going global warming. And that Africa will become warm as much as 1.6C in a few decades from now. One would deduce that such changes will inevitably have adverse impact on the crop production for the teeming millions of Africa. This gloomy predictions will, when time is due for their fulfilment, stimulate migration which might double the present rate that has alarmed Europe.

All the mentioned factors are herculian in nature and Africans feel powerless to redress their adverse impacts and their governments are not in the mood to mitigate the effects of these factors to their farmers and local industrialists; migration therefore, becomes now or never alternative. One can not therefore treat migration in isolation. It is interwoven with other factors. If these factors, particularly, the global warming issue and unbalanced world economic system could be tackled, migration to Europe will be reduced substantially.