Fewer migrants to Europe, bigger problems for Africa

Fewer migrants to Europe, bigger problems for Africa

Migration from Africa to Europe is increasingly being framed as a security threat to states and societies. The result is tighter border controls and visa policies. These efforts have led to fewer African migrants reaching Europe, but have also had several unintended negative consequences.

European Union (EU) policies to deter Europe-bound African migration include the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Joint Valletta Action Plan. Related operational mechanisms are the EU Emergency Trust Fund and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

In Africa, upper-middle-income countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco also apply strict visa rules to African travellers to limit the entry of migrants from low-income countries.

Agadez in Niger (see map) is a typical example of a place that has experienced the increased securitisation of migration, and suffered unintended consequences. Located on a key route between West Africa, the Sahel and the Maghreb regions, it’s estimated that a third of all migrants travelling through Agadez eventually end up on a boat to Europe. As a result, EU policymakers have since 2015 focused on Agadez to stem migration to Europe.