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The worst African refugees in the world


『International Development Journal』 2019 September edition

Largest East African refugees

In August, 2019, the 7th Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD7) was held in Yokohama. The conference discussed how Africa could develop, but then there is a sad reality that Africa cannot avoid. That is the endless waves of refugees. This wave has turned into a tsunami and has caused many tragedies.
African refugees make up more than 30% of the world’s refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the size of sub-Saharan refugees in 2019 was 24.2 million. It is the largest in the world, compared with 16.8 million in the Middle East.
By region, East Africa has the largest illegal population of 12 million including Somali and Sudan, where conflicts have continued and riots have been frequent. Central Africa is followed by 0.7million, West Africa by 3.6million and Southern Africa by 0.5million. Incidentally, North Africa has only 0.8million people.
Globally, 70.8 million people have been displaced by conflict or persecution. According to UNHCR, this situation has doubled compared to 20 years ago and is comparable to the population of Thailand and Turkey.
Now, the problem is where refugees of a destructive scale arrive. While Chad and Ethiopia accept many refugees, African youth who see Europe as a utopia are crossing the Mediterranean via Libya and Morocco resulting in tragedy. Recently, with the spread of smartphones, you can learn about the rich and peaceful scene of Europe in any countryside in Africa.
The influx of refugees is a headache for Europe, which suffered from the unusual situation of more than 1 million refugees in 2015. Germany, which is willing to accept it, has recently begun to be repulsed by citizens and is gradually becoming reluctant. The need for labor recruitment has also declined, and citizens are beginning to see a resurgence that could ruin traditional European societies. Their dissatisfaction seems to be accompanied by the anxiety that refugees will be entitled to the social security that is available to citizens.
However, Europe has a historical burden on Africa with colonial rule from the 15th and 16th centuries. To this end, the European Union (EU) provided € 4,566,700 in 2018 to create jobs for youth in Africa in 2018 to address the issue of refugees in Africa as a European problem We came up with a plan.

African colonization

In any case, relations between Europe (mainly Portugal, Spain, UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, etc.) and Africa have a close history. According to Gui Richard, a professor emeritus at The University of Caen Normandy, “The 10,000 Year History of Immigration” (2002), the relationship between the two began as early as the 15th century when Europeans embarked on a sea capture. Portuguese sailors arrived on the Congo River in 1482, and in 1487 discovered a sea route from the Cape of Good Hope to the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, in 1484, the Portuguese were in contact with King Congo of Central Africa. In the 17th century, Angola on the Atlantic Ocean and Mozambique on the Indian Ocean were the first European colonies in Africa.
By the end of the 15th century, however, European interest was being shifted from Africa to the New Continent (the Americas), and a tragic slave trade from Africa began. The number is terrible, ranging from 9 million to 20 million. He says that the African slave trade was a sharp brake on the development of the African continent. Africa’s vitality was deprived as slave merchants looted from the coast and into deeper Africa.
In the first half of the 19th century, Africa became a production base for various industrial raw materials that supported the industrial revolution that began in the United Kingdom. They began full-scale colonial management. And emigration from Europe also commenced. In South Africa, however, migration from Europe had already begun as early as the 17th century.
In the mid-17th century, 600 Dutch and Germans settled in Cape Town. Eventually, a segregation policy (apartheid) was born. This seems to have been a symbol of the start of the African fight against white domination.

The question of African nation-building

Now, a decisive historical event in the sense of “domination” took place in Africa-Europe relations. It was the Berlin Conference of 1885. The European colonial powers have decided to divide and rule Africa like its own territory. This resulted in the division of African ethnic groups.
A Report presented by Kofi Annan, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, in 1998 on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa,stated that“Imperial powers divided Africa into territorial units, which forced Africa to build nations and nation-states at the same time, which also fueled a strong centralization of political and economic power.” He said,“The challenge remains to forge a genuine national identity among competing heterogeneous community ethnic groups”. A major challenge is that“competitive communities (each ethnic group) have their own security, perhaps their own. You may have come to think that even the survival itself can only be secured through the seizure of state power, in which case conflict will be inevitable”.
However, most Africans do not have a very strong “sense of border”. They are appearently seeking a suitable place to survive while traveling freely through the ancestral land. The challenge to reach Europe is the Mediterranean. But for them the ocean and terrestrial risks are the same and even if they are deceived by Moroccan and Algerian villains, they dream of “El Dorado” and try to move to Europe. They do not mind the norms of modern nations.
One scholar says that European crimes in Africa could be offset in the sense of “contribution to civilization” in Europe. But how do you refute when it is said that European civilization itself is at the expense of Africa?

By Mitsuya Araki, Editor-in-chief of IDJ

***** 以下、日本語原文 *****
羅針盤 世界最悪のアフリカ難民 問われる欧州の歴史的責任







『国際開発ジャーナル』主幹 荒木光弥


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