From time immemorial, migration has been in the DNA of the human race. People of old migrated for the sole aim of searching for food but in today’s contemporary scenario, people migrate for a range of reasons however centered on a better life. The pull factors often involve employment opportunities, better services, education opportunities and political stability while push factors are centered on poverty, and political instability particularly in the case of Africa. Although in the past Africans had migrated to the United States of America and Europe. Today’s African migration is witnessing a paradigm shift as most African countries are becoming developed, coupled with the technological advancement and political steadiness. However while some countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Nigeria are witnessing a high influx of other Africans with respect to their emerging economy, stable political environment and most especially educational system, other countries like Tunisia and Libya are also a destination as a gateway to Europe which some Africans are persuaded is the optimum destination.
At the fall of apartheid and the coming of democracy in 1994, there has been a huge wave of migration into South Africa from the rest of the continent. Stories abound of entire Johannesburg neighborhoods that are now made up Nigerian or Congolese. Listed amongst the most developed and technology advanced countries on the continent, with an outstanding tertiary educational set up, respectable democracy, Business and employment opportunities South Africa has been a migration destination for other Africans. Reports hold that the South African education system receives students yearly from all over the continent as the tuition and lifestyle is relatively better compared to moving to other countries out of Africa. Despite withdrawing their statement, the South African Human Sciences Research Council once estimated that there are 4 to 8 million undocumented migrants alone in South Africa.
Nigeria is home to a large number of foreigners, including those attracted by the oil-export boom from the 1970s and today’s economic boom. With many different languages, customs, and religions, similar to other African countries, the Nigerian identity is very heterogeneous. This has attracted migrants from other African countries to the West African Economic giant. Worthy of note about Nigeria is its entertainment industry which is ranked third in the world. The entertainment industry alone generates billions of Naira yearly not to mention the oil industry. These two factors alone have been a pull factors to many Africans especially from Ghana and other West African states, Kenyans and South Africans to migrate to Nigeria for business opportunities. It is reported that Nigeria is host to close to about two million migrants from other African countries who are there for various reason out of the above stated.
Kenya’s capital city has been dubbed the most cosmopolitan city in Africa. According to HowAfrica, it is not uncommon to cross paths with Ugandans, Tanzanians, Rwandans, Sudanese, Somalis, Ethiopian and Eritreans as well as a handful of Nigerians, Ghanaians, Cameroonians and Congolese going about their business in Nairobi. Despite the terrorism threats which faced the nation in the past this fast growing African economy attracts migrants from all over Africa, as it presents opportunities for a better life. Recounting his experience in Kenya, Emmanuel Ibe from Nigeria says, it was a healthier destination to hope for a better future as compared to Asia. Ibe said “I could relate with the food, culture and people” which made him confortable as a migrant.
While the overall immigrant population in Ghana has remained relatively stable over the last two decades, the political stability, economic growth, and educational system has been a great attraction to African migrants. Students who currently make up a significant proportion of immigrants to Ghana continue to be on the rise. According Deputy Minister of Education Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa speaking on the occasion of the 9th Graduation Ceremony at the Accra Institute of Technology, There are about 7,000 foreign students studying on our universities, and it is because “our standards are high and certificates valuable”. Labeled by AfricaAnswer as “The Next African Great Country”, Ghana’s advancement in technology and innovations has been a pivot of these foreign students and Tech firms and investors seeking fresh ideas.
While the African Maghreb countries like Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco do have a steady and viable economy and ranked amongst the most developed countries in Africa, it has also been a major migration destination for some Africans particularly from Gambia, Mali, Eritrea and Guinea; not for the pull factor but for the majority a transit to Europe. Algeria and Tunisia were reported to have received more than two million African migrants sometime in 2013 all hoping to make it to Europe. According to a CNN report Tunisia massively increased security along its eastern border with Libya; while Algeria and Morocco built fences along their border against clandestine migration, which had less effect on the flow of migrants bent on taking the perilous journey.
Other countries like Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Tanzania and the Mozambique are also notable countries which have witnessed an inflow of migrants from other African countries. This is as a result of a booming economy, technological advancements, safe hub against terrorism, with a relatively stable political system which provides an environment for business opportunities, better quality services and hope for long life. With the possible arrival of the unique African passport and lesser border regulations, we can only wait to see the champion African destinations for Africans.
Header Image Credit: Quartz Africa