Friday, 21 October 2016

Costs of migration

With average economic growth rates in African economies sinking to around 1.6% next year and conflict worsening, European Union officials are holding a summit on migration in Brussels on 20 October (see Pointer, Shifting borders south).

They want African governments to tighten border controls. One proposal suggests countries that cooperate with EU border restrictions and accept returned migrants would win higher levels of development aid and market access. Those which don’t would face economic penalties. The drafters of that policy will struggle to explain how further impoverishing countries with high levels of migration is going to improve regional stability.

The first deal, the Rabat Process in 2006, aimed to staunch the flow of West African migrants through Morocco en route to southern Europe. A much more-criticised deal known as the Khartoum Process was struck between the EU and the governments of the Horn of Africa in 2014. Human rights campaigners say that returning migrants to such countries especially to Sudan, could break EU human rights law.

On 10 October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Addis Ababa to meet Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The previous day, Hailemariam had announced a state of emergency following political clashes in Oromia in which more than 500 people died. Days earlier, the Ethiopian government had dropped its earlier refusal to accept the return of its nationals deported from Europe.

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