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Migration Trends in Africa

February 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

Africa is known for its enduring history of migration, across its planes and beyond the vast spacious continent. Africa is an enigma, with a history largely anecdotal, seldom recorded. From her Berber to Zulu kingdoms, gold, diamond and wild safari, the number of people of African origin living outside the continent is thought to be at almost 140 million, the majority in the Western Hemisphere. Most of these people are not individuals or groups who emigrated, rather they are family descendants (of many generations), of Africans who were trafficked to countries such as America during the slave trade era. These descendants have little in way of connection to Africa through either politics or genealogy.

By contrast, the phenomena of modern migration has not made emigrants lose touch with their homeland. Recent migration from the African mainland is estimated at the 30 million mark. These migrants have maintained close relationships with their land and loved ones. They frequently travel to visit. Telecommunications has also made 'keeping in touch' a cinch. With the advent of email and social networks, economical as well as political interconnection is borderless. The train tracks of globalisation is technology and the internet, with advanced money transfer systems, remittances have flattened many lines of society in Africa.

African migration is diverse, mainly dependent on financial possibilities. Those with restricted resources migrate within Africa as their lack of capital and acquired skills restrict them from travelling to distant continents. Contrastingly, ninety percent of North African emigrants go to destinations outside of Africa, predominantly Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Immigration in Africa has been overwhelmingly effected by the continent's history of war, military coups, insurgencies, despotic regimes and natural disasters.

Colonial history continues to exert an influence on the choice of destination country, with half of African countries reporting that the most popular destination for emigrants is a former coloniser.

Recent data on migration taken from household surveys conducted in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal signify that migrants tend to be emerging adults (two-thirds of Burkina Faso's emigrants were between the ages of 15 and 40) and male (more than 90 percent in Burkina Faso), typically educated beyond primary school years. Migration from these countries resulted in particular career shifts, specifically the transition from farming to trading, semi-skilled employment and professional jobs.

Official statistics indicate that migration rates are not necessarily high across African countries. However, migration affects the lives of hundreds of millions throughout the continent. Many Africans have moved to new countries, in most cases neighbouring ones, without the concern to cross at border checks or register with officials.

Every single emigrant most likely supports a substantial network of family members in the home country through remittances or money transfer. In these areas, where large emigration occurs, economic productivity is often highly dependent on these inflows.

Being heavily dependent on remittances through migration, Africa, as a continent needs to find projects and enact policies to encourage people to utilise cash inflows to generate independency. Independency is the path to economic progression, bringing along with it higher education levels and living standards. Africa must tread on serious paths for its future and bring an end to the ongoing plight.

Amin Rashid, Topical Commentator withMoney Transfer System

Source: EzineArticles
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