MIGRATION AND RURAL TRANSFORMATION : THE AFRICAN SITUATION
The wave of mass migration of youngsters from Africa to Europe across the mediterranean Sea is a major challenge confronting Africa Continent at the moment
Several thousands of able-bodied young men and women are indiscriminately deserting their homes, for what? in search of greener pastures
Unfortunately, a good number of these young Africancs lost their lives in the process becuase of the tortuous journey
What started as routine migration by scores of main economic migrants fleeing hardship in Africa (if actually it is) has turned into a global nightmare, and Africa is as confounded as European Union is shocked.
The Roll Call
Over time, the number of countries whose citizens are fleeing conflicts and economic hardship has multiplied. They include Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia and Cote d'Ivoire.
Others are Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Tunisia and Zimbabwe etc.
The conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have helped to fuel the insidious migration.
The harsh economic realities coupled with political upheavals prevalent in these countries compel the citizens to seek refuge in elsewhere. They are traumatized as they face misery, dejection and gloom that pervade the spheres in which many citizens found themselves.
What of the Rich Natural Endowments?
The migration ought not be the case, given the huge natural endowments in African continent. In every country in Africa, there are natural resources in a huge commercial quantity which God the creator endowed our soil.
What is Needed
All that is needed to make a difference is Good Leadership The continent certainly has list direction, which has given rise to the pervading poverty that pushes people into the saga of migration. Which is why the issue of rural transformation, hardly mentioned by African leaders is critical to saving the continent.
Consequently, the rural communities where majority of the population dwells, are blighted and problem prone, lacking social service amenities such as water, good roads, healthcare facilities etc. Such areas need to be transformed, otherwise they will continue to breed youths who are desperate to flee.
Something to cheer
The president of African Development Bank, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, had recently called on the Countries in Africa to reconstruct the rural areas from the zone of economic misery to that of prosperity. He said this would in turn expand economic opportunities for the African youths which lead to improvement in their lives thereby stemming migration. He stated this during the occasion of International Migrant Day in Abuja Nigeria.
But unfortunately our leaders who know this have always paid lip service to this all-important issue. For instance, it is known fact that Agriculture is the key to rural transformation. But leaders are not addressing it with the attention it deserves. Whether we accept it or not, the challenge of food insecurity is critical to addressing the more complex issues of migration and displacement.
The unfortunate migration can be stemmed by addressing the following: rural socio-amenities, reducing inter-communal conflicts, new agricultural innovations, then transforming it into a sector for creating wealth. It takes a committed leader to marshal this plan of action though, but it is doable. So let us ensure that we challenge the leadership across Africa to do the needful.
From the desk of Udu Ben