Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

soule1_EricLafforgueArtInAllOfUsCorbisviaGettyImages_tribemanwalkingstick Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

Setting the Record Straight About African Migration

Cynical politicians in Europe and the United States claim, for the sake of winning votes, that immigrants are “invading” their countries, threatening to steal locals’ jobs, or worse. When it comes to Africa, nothing could be further from the truth, because, contrary to widespread belief, no mass exodus is occurring.

ABIDJAN – In recent years, images of young Africans attempting to reach Europe, sometimes through the most daring and desperate routes, have become a fixture on global and national news channels. Cynical politicians in Europe and the United States have argued, for the sake of winning votes, that these (largely male) immigrants are “invading” their countries, threatening to steal locals’ jobs, or worse.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As we were reminded during the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Governance Weekend, there is, in fact, no mass exodus from Africa at all.

In 2017, more than 50% of the world’s migrants originated from just 21 countries. The top four were India (6.4%), Mexico (5%), Russia (4.1%), and China (3.9%). The African country that accounted for the largest share of migrants, Egypt, ranked 19th.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.


Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.;
  1. lhatheway8_Spencer PlattGetty Images_stockmarketcoronavirus Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    A COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan

    Larry Hatheway

    The rapid escalation of the COVID-19 crisis may be setting the stage for a global recession. Economic policymakers have no time to waste in preparing a response – preferably one that makes full use of low and falling bond yields, below-target inflation, and the lessons of the last recession.

  2. fischer166_JIM WATSONAFP via Getty Images_trumplookingangrywef Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

    The West’s Final Countdown?

    Joschka Fischer

    With the US presidential election approaching, no one can say they didn't foresee the possibility of Donald Trump winning a second term – an event that would pose an existential threat to the very idea of "the West." So why are European leaders spending their time squabbling over agriculture subsidies?


Edit Newsletter Preferences