Monday, November 16, 2015


This week the European Union leaders met to discuss among other things the unabating flow of immigrants into their countries.

Focusing mostly on African immigrants a suggestion has been mooted for a $2b (sh7trillion) fund, which will among other things pay governments to take back their people as well as finance some projects to kick start their respective economies.

African diplomats speaking on the sidelines of the meeting have pointed to double standards on the EU’s part, which continues to accommodate immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Secondly, they doubt the plan will get any support from African governments because remittances from their people abroad constitute critical revenues, that in many countries are their largest foreign exchange earners. In most cases these inflows are greater than all the aid these countries receive.

It does not take a rocket scientist to see why this plan is dead on arrival.

"This plan cannot work if only because it ignores the historical context of the desperation of these immigrants and it will exacerbate the very situation that create this exodus...

According to some statistics the EU is receiving up to 200,000 immigrants from Africa annually, a quarter of all the immigrants from around the world, of these seven in every ten are from Eritrea with other big numbers coming in from Nigeria and Sudan.

These immigrants are mostly fleeing economic hardship in their countries. So the logical sustainable solution would be for the continent’s economies to improve, create jobs and opportunity so that the flow northwards can be stopped or at least slowed.

Africa’s plight has historical perspective that led on to the current predicament.

Colonialism set the stage for exploitation of African resources to enrich the north. Post colonial Africa saw governments serving as agents for the continued exploitation at best or total destruction of value at worst. The rich north unwilling to wean itself off the Africa’s cheap bounty has led to widening of wealth inequality between Africa and the developed world.

Physics tells us that fluids move from a place of high pressure to low pressure until a balance is achieved. This rush of immigration is following the same law, with people moving from areas of high economic hardship to wealthier areas of the globe. The only way this will be stopped is if the continent grows to a level economic development that makes it unnecessary for people to flee Africa.

Blowback defines the unintended adverse results of a political action or situation. This flood of immigrants is blowback.

"Out of political expediency they have decided they will pay off the countries to restrain their masses, which it does not take a crystal ball to know will bring out the worst in our governments as they try to restrict our freedom of movement...

But even worse these hand outs to the continent’s Big Men will only aggravate the problem by ensuring that the bad politics that leads to the bad economics that lead to the flight of people north, will continue.

One of the problems of the continent is that we have all had all this money sloshing about either from the sale of commodities or donor handouts, which means our governments do not have to exercise much budgetary discipline but also that they are not accountable to their own people.

"The worst thing that can happen is for more donor money to flow in as this new plan suggests...

If the solution was easy we would not have wandered in the development wilderness for the last half century with little to show for it.

But clearly we have to produce more. With greater production we can trade more and sustain industries that could add value to our produce, creating more jobs and ensuring higher returns for us.
This can only happen if the quality of our people is raised through education, better health care and improved infrastructure to allow them access the opportunities in the market.

Clearly this has to be a long term plan, which should have started decades ago.

The more sustainable thing for the rich north to do now, is to take in these immigrants and settle for an average lowering of living standards to accommodate them. A smaller price to pay than the cost of the social unrest that would ensue with a forced return of these immigrants to their countries.


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