July 30th, 2012
By Toluwani Eniola
NewsRescue- Many Africans had a dream: to flee to Europe for greener pastures. A belief that “In Europe, the roads are paved with gold. It’s a land flowing with milk and honey.”
This cliché seems to have lost any validity it held, with the economic metamorphosis dazing the world.
Africans, with the stiffing economic recession hitting Europe, have been forced to reconsider their emigration dream as the helper becomes more and more helpless.
These are not the best of times in Europe.
The economic meltdown has gathered troubles in its wake. Job loss, inflation, poverty, wider gap between the rich and the poor and worrying austerity seem to be defying solution.
Recent news reports describe the middle class squatter situation in Spain, as the unemployed lose their accommodation. More than 1 in 5 homes is not rented in Spain due to poverty crises.
The situation in Greece with daily riots and upheavals is no news, nor is the Occupy wall street, poverty riots of the US, with the ’99%’, identifier battle cry. England has not been spared, the August 2011 ‘Robin-hood‘ riots of the frustrated youth, with the noted brutal government crackdown, is a powerful indicator of the growing crises.
And with these crushing economic times, comes our report on the growing trend of southward migration.
Citizens of European countries have been actively migrating and strongly considering Africa to survive the economic heat.
Indeed, many citizens of European countries such as Spain, Portugal and others have been reported to be seeking greener pastures in their former African colonies, colonies such as Angola, Mozambique and Morocco.
There is growing concern that judging by the protracted nature of the recession, the emigration may increase overtime.
In an ironic twist of fate, observers have been asking: Is Africa becoming the proverbial paradise? Why is Europe turning to Africa?
This report examines the recession in Europe and why and how some African countries are fast becoming the dream land.
Historically, Europe, in particular ancient Greece, is the birthplace of modern western culture. Greece played a predominant role in global affairs.
Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European nations controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and large portions of Asia.
But today, Europe, like other world giants, is battling with boiling recession and recession borne, crippling crises. Recession, according to Word web dictionary, is a state of decline in economy; a widespread decline in the GDP, employment and trade.
In recent times, critical financial indices have continued to persecute the eurozone.
Experts have observed that Europe is now marked by aging and economic stagnation.
Particularly in southern Europe but also in Ireland, faced with mass unemployment and a general lack of perspective, young people have
started to migrate again.
Even the European giants such as France, UK, Italy are not exempted from this bitter crisis.
Corporate greed and unchecked capitalism are also largely blamed for the downturn in European economies.
According to a CNN projection, 12 European economies are now officially in recession while Germany the largest economy in the euro area and the fourth largest worldwide, might be headed for recession soon.
“Overall, the eurozone economy is expected to suffer a mild recession this year as government austerity programs — tax hikes and spending
cuts — take a toll on growth.”says the report.
Last month, Spain and the United Kingdom were reported saying that they had slipped back into recession, with two straight quarters of
“Germany, the largest euro economy and the fourth largest worldwide, could be next: Its economy shrank 0.2% in the last three months of
2011, and it is expected to show another contraction when it releases data for the first quarter in mid-May,” says the CNN report.
Now that Europe is becoming more unfavorable to live, there are proofs that Africa is fast becoming a better option.
Africa generally has been advertised as the world’s poorest inhabited continent. Visa applications to these African states have historically been comparatively easier than reverse applications.
Although many parts of the continent have not recorded remarkable developments over the last few years, the situation is steadily improving.
Abundance of land and resource and resistance to conventional capital economic mechanisms, binds and events have shielded much of Africa along with isolated countries like Iran from the worst of the recession.
The economies of Ghana, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and North Africa are steadily coming up, as is the economy of Nigeria, noted as a worlds most rapidly developing economy.
Angola is experiencing boom with its diamond stocks and oil deposits – the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Reports says the GDP of the country, grows for about 14 % a year since 2003.
Oil is being discovered in so many African nations. Recently with its discovery in Kenya, a new western scramble to drill was observed.
Indeed the Kony 2012 experiment was viewed as a western effort to get their military into resource rich central Africa.
South Africa is the continent’s wealthiest state in total GDP, accounting for 30% of the continent’s GDP in nominal terms and 24% by
Importantly, most African countries still share ties to their colonial lords, which aids easier assimilation of foreign economic migrants.
The small but oil-rich states of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea make up the list of the ten wealthiest states in Africa, according to an article on the web.
Hein de Haas, a researcher on migration, development and North African lends credence to the prospects of African countries when he asserts
that “while income differences between Europe and most African countries are still huge, many African economies have been growing fast and offer many social and economic opportunities for young, aspiring people.
“While countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa attract increasing number of migrants from within Africa, they
also attract increasing number of migrants from outside. And these are not only Europeans. According to some estimates about one million
Chinese already live in Africa,” he said.
Not just masses, but also governments and European governing bodies are increasingly turning to and begging Africa for help.
In January 2012, it will be recalled that the boss of the IMF, Christine Lagarde caused an eruption in Nigeria when she ‘begged’, and coerced the Nigerian government along with other governments across west Africa to adjust their policies to put ease on European economies. See: IMF Forces African Nations to Remove Fuel Subsidies
Lagarde ‘forced’ Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and other oil producers to suddenly remove their entire oil subsidies, in order to ease Europe’s economic woes. This caused crippling hardship and anger in Nigeria in particular and the nation was stalled for 3 weeks in state-wide riots and public action.
When Lagarde similarly went with her ‘begging bowl’ as she was described in the media-on CNN etc-, to South Africa, the president, Zuma unlike his west African counterparts, was reported to have given her a cold shoulder.
Related: NewsRescue- South Africa snubs IMF’s Christine Lagarde!
According to a report by The Independent, an estimated 20,000 Portuguese are taking the seven-hour flight to Angola every year.
Portugal’s unemployment is “almost 15 per cent, VAT at 23 per cent has kicked in, and its bailed-out economy stutters along ever more painfully.”
Worried by the downward trend, in May last year, some Portuguese and Spanish youths were reported to have rallied in Lisbon against
When Angola declared independence in 1975, hundreds of thousands of Portuguese in the south-west African country returned to Europe. But
now they are back.
“Now the tide of emigration has reversed, to the point where an estimated 20,000 Portuguese are taking the seven-hour flight to Angola every year. Experts recommended that jobless teachers should “try Angola… where there’s a huge demand for school educators”.
“Angola’s numerous attractions include a shared language and an economy that has grown at around 10 per cent a year for the last decade. And, with illiteracy rates running at 40 per cent after after a prolonged civil war, there is a desperate need for all kinds of professionals. Media reports have mentioned salaries of up to €10,000 (£8,000) a month in the pharmaceutical industry,” says a report in The Independent.
Further checks shows that Anglola’s embassy in Lisbon cannot cope with the number of people applying for visas.
A report by BBC and other international media also show that in the last two years a remarkable phenomenon has hit the labor market of
Thousands of young unemployed professionals, as observed, are escaping Portugal’s crippling economic crisis by finding jobs in former
colonies, such as Angola.
Increasingly young Portuguese are emigrating from their country, the former colonizer of Angola, in order to build a new future in the African country.
Many years ago young Portuguese left to seek their fortune in richer parts of Europe, today they are packing their bags for booming Angola and Mozambique.
BBC estimates says Portugal has a Diaspora around the world of three million. Filipa Pinho of the government’s newly established Emigration
Observatory was quoted as saying that in 2006, only 156 Angolan visas were issued to southbound Portuguese, but in 2010, the figure was 23,787.
“Today, there are around 3,000 Portuguese companies in Angola. Some of these belong to Antonio Bagal, a 32-year-old entrepreneur from Lisbon,” the report claims.
Jan Vranken , a Dutch expert on circular migration, lends credence to this in a report when he asserted that “Portugal is sick and that Angola is in excellent shape.”
Observers have called it a historic role reversal, because for decades Portugal lured immigrants from its former colonies in Latin America and Africa.
Recent reports have also shown that more Europeans are increasingly migrating to Mozambique.
Mozambique, the southern African country was Portugal’s colony in the colonial era.
Widely known for its ocean beaches and natural landscapes, Mozambique has been reported to be witnessing resurgence in foreign investment and foreign migrants, especially the Portuguese.
Maria, a freelance graphic designer and her husband were reported in The Guardian to have moved to Maputo, in Mozambique in 2006.
According to Maria, there is an email group of thousands online, made up of Portuguese expats living in Mozambique who want to make the move.
“Every day there is another CV from Portugal, someone else looking for a job, wanting to come,” she said.
NewsRescue gathered that the economic resurgence in Ghana is attracting more foreigners within and outside the continent.
In Ghana, Europeans are increasingly seen not as mere migrants, but engaged at all cadres of the society.
In the image below, European ladies actually have road side sheds and run to cars to sell candies and juices, a more African hawker behavior.
An issue that is generating controversy is whether the Europeans that have turned to Africa for greener pastures are ‘expatriates’ or
While the words appear to mean the same thing, it is not so as a ‘migrants’ (used more often to refer to Africans) seem to be more desperate than an ‘expatriate’.
In West-Africa and South Africa, many Europeans have been spotted trying to make ends meet.
Investigation shows that presently, in Nigeria, oil companies would prefer to hire a European trained geologists and engineers than their Nigerian counterparts.
These ‘experts’, fleeing recession-torn Europe, stand better chances of getting jobs.
Here in Africa, to accord them respect, they are referred to as ‘expatriate’ rather than ‘migrant,’ because many believe they are not desperate. Are they migrants or expatriates?
This reversal of fortune and fate as subtle as it is has many lessons. So far, no condition is permanent.
In the words of Hein de Haas, in a recent article entitled Europeans looking for greener pastures in Africa, “it is important to go beyond colonial stereotypes of Africa as a continent of misery and to stop thinking that the whole world wants to come to Europe.
Hear him further: “The new European migrations towards Africa can teach Europeans a lesson: We are not the centre of the world. For centuries, Europeans have taken for granted that it is their right to “discover”, occupy, conquer, visit and settle in foreign lands – without asking permission.
“This continues until the present day.”We” find it normal that Africans need visas to enter Europe, but we think it is our natural right to travel abroad, and get upset when we are asked visas in return.
“The irony is that while Europeans talk in belligerent terms of ‘combating’ illegal immigration from Africa as if Africans are a plague or a threat to security, Europeans can move to and settle in Africa with relative ease and do not even question this situation of inequality.”
More importantly, for developing African countries, it is time to brace up for a change. African leaders must develop the political will to change the story of the continent. It has been tested to a great extent that man is responsible for his misfortune and success.