ADDIS ABABA– Contrary to stories of desperate Africans on rickety boats trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe or embarking on the perilous Eastern trek to the Gulf States, which have become mainstream, Europe and Asia top the list on intercontinental migration.

African migration in the 21st Century takes place mainly by land, not by sea. African migrants’ destinations are overwhelmingly not to Europe or North America, but to each other’s countries.  

Those are among the historic findings of the study, Africa Migration Report: Challenging the Narrative,  released yesterday (15 October) by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the African Union Commission (AUC). The work, which is the first continent-specific report on migration and was released during a virtual meeting bringing together policymakers, experts on migration and UN partner agencies. This inaugural edition attempts to unpack commonly held misperceptions about migration in the continent.   

The report notes that Africans comprise no more than 14 per cent of all global migrants, while over 40 per cent come from Asia and another 24 per cent from Europe.

migrants entering Europe
Migrants sit on their boat as they wait to be rescued 

Globally, the salience of migration issues is getting higher on the policy agenda.  This trend distorts the public’s understanding that most African migrants are moving across land borders, not across oceans.   

Yet the narratives that characterize it are not always accurate, the joint report reveals. To ensure a better understanding of the complex phenomena that spur human mobility, and to reorient the narrative, the newly released Africa Migration Report takes a deep dive into the key issues and trends characterizing the continent’s migration patterns.   

Meanwhile, according to IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), 80 per cent of Africans, when asked about migrating in 2017, said they have no interest in leaving the continent, nor of permanently relocating.  

Experts from IOM, the AUC and other UN agencies collaborated to produce sixteen chapters covering, migration data, migration and health, migration and development, urbanization, migration and climate change, migration and trade, remittances and managing borders in the age of free movement.  

IOM works closely with the African Union Commission to advance the migration agenda, recognizing that well-managed migration has the potential to drive development and transformation on the continent.  

The Africa Migration Report was funded by the Government of Switzerland and the United States’ Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration’s Africa Regional Migration Program, the African Union Commission and IOM.  Source: Africa6News