Jobs and Migration: An African Perspective

Migration has been part of human history for thousands of years with proven positive effects. Nevertheless, in some parts of German and European societies, migration is increasingly perceived and portrayed as not beneficial. This picture, however, is inaccurate and even counterproductive. Data show that the majority of African migrants mainly search job opportunities – primarily within Africa itself. This young, often well-educated workforce also bears great potential for European labour markets.

In order to promote African perspectives within the political debate in Germany, the Global Perspectives Initiative (GPI) hosted a high-level conference in Berlin in 2019. The event provided a platform for African and European leaders to discuss facts about migration, the need for a sustainable labour market and the potential of the growing African youth in order to find new political approaches that benefit both continents.

An important basis for the conference was the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s (MIF) 2019 report “Africa’s Youth: Jobs or Migration?”. Besides providing data for resetting the narrative on African migrations, the report highlights the links between a growing population, the lack of economic prospects and the future of job markets. It also looks at how an increasingly integrated Africa can positively impact social and economic development, and provide opportunities to retain human capital on its own continent.

However, much remains to be done in order to establish a holistic legal migration framework from Africa to Europe, as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) argues in this paper. Global Perspectives Initiative in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation aim to provide impulses through this publication for the future course of migration policies and contribute to a much-needed change in the narrative around migration from Africa.

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