Migrant Crisis: Could Europe learn from Africa?

SALO hosted a dialogue on migration to bring into perspective the current issues at national, regional and international level. The discussions centered on the comparison of how migration is seen at different levels in different contexts. Europe is experiencing major pressures as the flow of desperate migrants predominantly from Syria and other countries reach record heights. The discussions pointed to migration in Africa as a problematic area but more manageable compared to the European migrant crisis currently underway. The dialogue highlighted Europe’s divisions, as they bicker over who should take responsibility for the migrants rather than unifying around a new policy. It was argued that migration has always been happening around Africa in recipient countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia, and their borders have managed thousands at once, whilst Europe is struggling.

Questions were raised on the struggle among European leaders to develop a coherent response to the spiralling migrant crisis. The discussions suggested that it was time Europe learn from Africa and this would only be possible if the Europeans were willing to learn how Africa has managed migrants. The discussions revealed that Europe was to blame for the migrant crisis and some questions were raised on whether Europe was genuinely helping the Syrians or if it intended to benefit from their resources, such as oil. There was a recommendation to look at what is really pushing the North Africans to Italy as they risk their lives in the sea.

The dialogue was of immense importance as it highlighted the current issues in migration and the possible ways in which Europe can manage the situation its borders are currently experiencing. It was emphasized that there is a need for concrete, coherent, rational political decisions in the sense of solidarity and responsibility, and it is about time that the citizens of the world stop treating movement of people as a social threat.