African Migrants’ Overwhelm Not Europe/America, but Each Other’s Countries – IOM

African migrants’ destinations are overwhelmingly not to Europe or North America, but to each other’s countries, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

African migration in the 21st Century takes place mainly by land, not by sea. The report released on Thursday by IOM and the African Union Commission (AUC). It is the first continent-specific report on migration and is being released during a virtual meeting bringing together policymakers, experts on migration and UN partner agencies.

IOM Director General António Vitorino said in his opening remarks, it reminds us how migration is integrated into every aspect of our societies and economies. It reinforces the critical need to include migrants into our responses to multifaceted crises, and in all our public policies. And it forces us to look beyond the problems of today, and consider where the challenges, and solutions, of tomorrow might be found.

Commissioner Amira El Fadil on behalf of the AUC Chairperson Musa Faki Mahamat thanked IOM for this collaborative initiative that begins to lay the foundations for important future work on migration policy and operational work in Africa.

“This is especially important as the continent makes ever greater steps towards integration through the implementation of, among others, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the continental free movement protocol which, as we know, is adopted but is yet to come into force.”

Globally, the salience of migration issues is getting higher on the policy agenda. Stories of desperate Africans on rickety boats trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe or embarking on the perilous Eastern trek to the Gulf States have become mainstream. This trend distorts the public’s understanding that most African migrants are moving across land borders, not across oceans.