Thursday, November 02, 2006

Africa must come up with more of its own strategies to stop its youths illegally migrating to Europe rather than simply relying on foreign donors

Nick Tattersall:

Thousands of young West Africans have attempted perilous ocean journeys in rickety boats this year in a bid to find jobs in Europe. More than 26,000, at least half of them Senegalese, have come ashore in the Spanish Canary Islands alone.

European Commission aid chief Louis Michel said donors were working on funding more projects to create jobs and improve educational opportunities in Africa but said governments had to be more active in identifying where their needs lay.

"Too often our partners have played the role of a passive receiver, considering donors like benevolent cash points, an enormous charitable Lady Bountiful," Michel said in Dakar during a visit to West Africa for talks on development and immigration.

"That's not my conception of development ... I want a political relationship with our partners. I want them to tell us what they want, I want them to make their own analyses, I want them to say what development model they want," he said.

Hundreds of Africans are thought to have died by drowning or from hunger, thirst and exhaustion while trying to leave the world's poorest continent this year, triggering an increasingly emotional political debate in Europe and Africa.

Many youths in Senegal say they have no prospects in a country where unemployment is estimated at more than 40 percent and half the population is under 18. Those who go say they simply want to find work in Europe and send money back home.

Tunisia rescues 40 illegal African migrants

SENEGAL: Into the West

MAURITANIA: Migrants lie in waiting

Gambians deported from Spain rampage at airport


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