Improve African economies to halt migration

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This was the sentiment that prevailed at the 7th edition of the Africities Summit held in Johannesburg. The summit hosted by the City of Johannesburg brought together the continent’s local government and private sector leaders.

In a statement, the City said migration, which had always been a natural and accepted movement among communities, had recently become a problem that was costing the continent dearly. This as a consequence of the global economic recession, strained state resources and job scarcity.

“It has led to changes in how it [migration] is viewed geopolitically, resulting in it being stigmatised and leading to xenophobia and sometimes terrorist attacks. This, in part, is driven by the lack of uniform laws,” read part the statement.

With the continent’s populations in cities set to double in the near future, there was a need to plan on how to deal with the challenge. “It should begin by understanding causes of the migration to a particular area, which in many cases is to seek better social and economic opportunities,” the statement continued.

“When this happens, it brings along increased demand for more services not initially planned for by the host municipalities. Without options, people then invade municipal land resulting in the mushrooming of informal settlements and unending backlogs for services which, in turn, undermine municipal performance.”

The statement pointed to the lack of uniform governance on migration, making it increasingly difficult to manage, with most migrants attracted towards countries with superior governance, facilities and perceived better opportunities. This ultimately places the attractive countries under more severe economic and social strain.

A solution to the problem was suggested through global networks of unified governance systems and improved migration laws. “But this should be preceded by the natural inhabitants of the affected host areas seeing positive signs of growth, ample accommodation and available resources to deal with poverty, education and job creation for them to enable them to be more tolerant of others.”

Details: nthatisem@joburg.org.za; 082 467 9228.

 

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