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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.

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