VICTOR ABRANTES

As a Liberal and European born in Africa, where I lived one third of my life, the migrant crisis is a painful issue for me and the lack of courage to take action that the EU has shown is quite upsetting.

We all know that political oppression and economical difficulties are the main factors driving thousands of people to flee to Europe. Closing borders, implementing quotas, creating settlement camps are simply not acceptable solutions. We in Europe must be better than this, our liberal values are better than this.  

I do not have solutions, just ideas that could possibly help tackling the issue in the short/medium terms and long term and that I would like to see the EU taking at least the time to give some consideration.

  1. Short/Medium term:
  2. Lift trade barriers and allow agricultural products from African countries to freely enter the EU. This will most certainly have the opposition from the European farmers, we all know that, but we must start somewhere.
  3. Create multilateral financing programs at EU/AU level for small-medium African farms and industrial enterprises. Yes, allocate some of the CAP funds to these programs (maybe it is time for European farmers to practise some solidarity with African farmers).
  4. Put in place loan guarantees to allow European banks to finance programs in Africa.
  5. Finally, rather than trying to “promote democracy models” in African countries in ways that have been a total flop in the past, link all the above to the respect of the rule of law and Human rights.
  • Long term:

Education is the key. An effort has been made by some Countries to promote education in Africa through bilateral agreements. More should be done both locally at the basic levels of education. Africa needs schools and teachers, Europe can and should help.

Creating scholarships to bring to European universities the leaders of tomorrow in Africa. This can work. An example is the program set in place a few years ago by former Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio, to bring students from war-stricken Syria, to attend Portuguese universities.

Can we really aim at a brighter future in Europe while shutting our eyes on what is going on “next door” in Africa?

Challenges of today and tomorrow, the migrant crisis
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The opinions on this blog are of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of ELfR.


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2 thoughts on “Challenges of today and tomorrow, the migrant crisis

  1. Corruption is a plague in most if not all of Less Developed Countries and, unfortunately, it’s spreading to the west. No country can have the rule of law respected, when it’s enough to pay off the police, judges, officials or politicians, to be allowed to profit from any kind of situation – endemic in Africa, but very present in the west as well. In the USA deputies and senators depend on rich donors to be elected and further their careers, politicians and their employees can count on the revolving door system to obtain lucrative contracts whether in lobbying or industry. Similar patterns exist in Europe, to varying degrees. On top of that, classical racketeering, drug smuggling and people trafficking make a mockery of the rule of law. With each criminal imprisoned, hundreds more get away with it and carry on making money. As for immigration, most if not all of it is driven by unscrupulous people smugglers, who convince the desperate and the ambitious to leave their villages to undertake the perilous route to the European Eldorado. They charge extortionate amounts of money for each step along the route, with whole families investing in the transit of one member, who may well disappear somewhere in a desert, murdered by any number of criminals or simply drowned in the sea. For those who get to Europe, exploitation and misery await for most of them. But, none will phone home and say: I risked my life to live in a hovel and work for a pittance – they will not want to lose their face, they will send what they can home, to help their families, pretending that it’s all wonderful and that the Eldorado is true. Investing in Africa by the west is great – and more and more Africans are setting up successful businesses, without western help. But help programmes will not make a dent in Africa’s problems, until Africans have a hope of starting a business and be allowed to enjoy the profits, without fear of losing it to criminals, police, greedy civil servants or politicians. As for sponsoring African students to study in Europe, what percentage can be expected to go back home, to struggle to take advantage of their newly acquired, valuable qualifications? I am aware of charities which sponsor African students to study in Cambridge, on condition that they go back home at the end of their studies, and work for their society, instead of profiting from their qualifications to have a comfortable life in Europe, while their countries lack engineers and doctors, as always.

  2. Test for Africa https://testforafrica.org/ – From the charity’s presentation:
    “Our Objectives. The Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust (TEST) for Africa enables gifted students who would otherwise miss out on a university education to get a degree, both unlocking their potential and helping them contribute to their communities.
    The Trust currently operates in Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania.
    Over 1000 Scholarships awarded since 2008 to students who could not afford to go to University. Scholars commit to staying in their country for 5 years after graduating to contribute to their community.
    One objective is for women to make up 60% of new scholarships”

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