Editor’s Note: August 23, 2018

Africa’s migrant crisis is a distraction

Not a day passes without news stories about Africa’s ‘migrant crisis’. The focus is usually on Europe’s hysteria about a perceived ‘flood’ of Africans trying to cross the Mediterranean.

At the root of this is a 68% spike in the number of international migrants leaving Africa 2000 – 2017, rising from 14.8m to 24.7m. 

This is arguably problematic for host countries, but the debate around migration is largely off the mark.

The spike in numbers raises an obvious question – why?

Up to 60% of Africa’s population is thought to be under 25 years old. What to do with this youth bulge is one of the continent’s most pressing questions.

Around 12m young people enter the labor force each year. Most have a slim to no chance of finding a job, with economic development at best struggling to keep up with the world’s highest population growth rate.

Put differently Africa is full of young people who live in economies that are unable to meet their aspirations. This obviously fuels economic migration, which often ends in the desperate act of trying to cross the Sahara Desert or Mediterranean.

Migration is a symptom of Africa’s demographics, which could be the real ‘crisis’.

From The Continent

Egypt hopes to attract $11bn of foreign investment in 2018-2019 according to its planning ministry, up from $7.9bn last year. Cairo is in the midst of an economic liberalization drive to boost foreign investment on the back of a $12bn IMF loan approved in late 2016. More: Reuters 


Kenyan opposition politician Raila Odinga reportedly plans to contest the country’s 2022 presidential election, having been at the centre of disputed polls last year. The former prime minister has  unsuccessfully run for president on four previous occasions. More: Africanews

The Daily Stat

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The number of African countries that still recognize Taiwan over China - eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland). More: BBC

The Global Perspective

U.S. music streaming company Tidal has reportedly partnered with with South Africa-based mobile operator MTN to launch the service in Uganda. Tidal is part-owned by rap artist Jay-Z, and the move comes amid growing interest in Africa from the global music industry. More: Billboard 

South Africa’s minister for mineral resources, Gwede Mantashe, has recommended the government withdraw a contentious new mining charter proposing higher black ownership rules, and instead use existing legislation. This will be good new for miners, who have been at loggerheads with authorities over the bill for years. More: Bloomberg

The Daily Follow

Mario Pezzini @mariopezzini: Director of the OECD Development Centre