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African migration and what the developed world might do about it

By Guy Hallowes - posted Monday, 3 May 2021


In a previous article I discussed the likely tsunami of Africans wanting to migrate from Africa and the reasons for that. This article will attempt to explore some ideas of what the developed world might do about the situation. Currently the developed world's response is just to try to prevent migrants from entering their territories: The EU's Frontex operation, the US/Mexico border wall, Australia's 'stop the boats' operation, Japan virtually blocking any migration at all from any country. There are two issues that need consideration in thinking about the matter:

Firstly the pandemic will result in a surge of Africans looking for 'A Better Life' in the developed world. I explained the reasons for this in a previous article, and secondly the populations in the developed world ( North America, Europe, Japan, Australia) and now China, are aging and shrinking.

As an example Japan's population began to decline in 2011. In 2014, Japan's population was estimated at 127 million; this figure is expected to shrink to 107 million (16%) by 2040 and to 97 million (24%) by 2050 should the current demographic trend continue.

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Also China's population is forecast to decline from 1.4 billion to 732 Million by 2100. Forecasts are for population declines in the USA, Germany and Italy. Australia's population has stagnated during the pandemic. Australia has from the early days of settlement relied on migrants, which has resulted in on-going and sustained population growth.

Nothing the developed world does should be regarded as philanthropic. Anything we do should be seen as pure self-interest. People will remember that Germany allowed a large number of Syrian refugees to settle there in 2015. Many saw this a gesture of kindness - nothing could be further from the truth; it was an attempt by the German Chancellor to boost the already declining German population.

Even if we do nothing the surge of people from Africa will continue. The developed world and China have two choices: Continue to try to block refugees from entering their territories. This will result in populations continuing to decline, which will mean economic stagnation. Or allow, in a planned organised way, much larger numbers of refugees from Africa (and probably the Middle east), sufficient to provide the services needed for growth. Already in Australia it's notable that farmers are complaining that they have had to leave fruit and vegetables rotting in the fields due to lack of labour. The building industry is also reporting a shortage of suitable tradesmen.

Such a move will, over time, result in a change in the population mix. This is certainly what has happened in Australia with the various waves of migrants, such as the migrants from Southern Europe after the second world war and more recently the migrants from Asia. All these new communities have contributed significantly to the cultural and economic growth of the Country. Should we fear this, I don't see why. Australia has by reputation the most successful multi-cultural programme in the world. Major restrictions in our migration programmes will inevitably result in economic stagnation.

The developed world can't be expected to take all of the millions of likely refuges looking for a better life though. So what else can the developed world do to mitigate the situation? I think it is in the developed world's own self-interest that we should do something

Most African states are run by a corrupt elite, that came to power as the Colonial era came to its inevitable end. This has resulted in a larger and larger part of the populations of those states being marginalised, so people are not provided with basic services such as health care and education. Also population growth has overwhelmed already inadequate health and education systems.

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So what can the developed world possibly do? It would be impossible to take on the whole of Africa at once.

One possibility is that some countries in the developed world could jointly adopt one or two African countries (say South Africa and Kenya) and provide them with substantial aid so they can re-jig their economies, focussing on eliminating corruption and reducing population growth. One sure way of achieving the latter is women's education.

Many would suggest that we leave Africa to 'stew in its own juice'. If the developed world does nothing we may very well end up being stewed in that very juice.

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About the Author

Sydney-based Guy Hallowes is the author of Icefall, a thriller dealing with the consequences of climate change. He has also written several novels on the change from Colonial to Majority rule in Africa. To buy browse and buy his books click here.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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