Sometimes, for months on end, young African men and women risk everything, including their lives, to take on the perilous trip across dozens of borders and the treacherous waves of the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life in the North. Some die along the way, some are turned back and some who finish the journey realize that life may not be easier across the frontier. But with few jobs and dim prospects at home, millions of youths and young adults in Africa still choose to migrate, often clandestinely.

Most people who seek to migrate are pushed by circumstances in their home countries. War, poverty and persecution prompt people to become refugees, asylum seekers and labour migrants. In most emigrant-producing countries, jobs are scarce or salaries are too low, obliging people to seek opportunities elsewhere. Therefore, in times of peace, governments can stem the flow of citizens seeking to leave by creating jobs.

Over the last few decades many African countries have failed to create jobs, despite pursuing structural adjustment policies recommended by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Instead, in many countries there has been a decline in job opportunities and real incomes.

Source: Mutume, Gumisa. “African Migration.” UN News Center. UN, 1 Jan. 2006.

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