Europe sends African migrants home on free flights, but will they stay?

Europe sends African migrants home on free flights, but will they stay? By The Economist.

The repatriation program is part of a joint UN and EU effort to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. It encourages those who have made it to Libya to go home voluntarily, rather than risk a rickety boat across the Mediterranean. People who turn back get a free flight — cutting out the need for a perilous return journey across the Sahara.

The program, launched in December 2016, repatriated 15,000 migrants to various west African countries in its first year. Most of them were in squalid Libyan detention centres or destitute on the streets of Tripoli. This barely scratches the surface. The International Organisation for Migration, part of the UN, has registered more than 400,000 migrants in Libya, but it reckons between 700,000 and one million are in the country. …

Those who return are given 100,000 naira ($357) to tide them over for the first three months, and training on how to start their own businesses. Options include fashion design, hairdressing and farming on land set aside by the state. …

Take Abibu, a tough-looking 25-year-old whose mother sold her last plot of land to raise the 150,000 naira demanded by smugglers for the trip across the Mediterranean. His boat was stopped by Libyan coastguards and he was taken back. “I don’t want to go back to my village, because if I hear people saying: ‘This is the guy who got nowhere,’ I’d probably kill them,” he says. “If the government doesn’t train me in something decent, I might be forced to go into crime to get the money to buy my mother’s land back.” …

Looks like the answer to the question in the title is probably  “no”.

In a Pew poll, about 40 per cent of respondents in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal said they planned to move to another country within five years. Asked whether they would move at once if they had the means and opportunity, 75 per cent of Nigerians and Ghanaians said yes.

Population 1950-2010 Africa, ME, Europe

hat-tip Stephen Neil