The EU's emigration pomposity in Africa | European Union | Al Jazeera

On a prohibited Nov dusk final year, we found myself in a center of a bizarre, illusory theatre in a mercantile collateral of a Ivory Coast, Abidjan. On a tiny theatre set adult during a internal stadium, Ivorian football star Didier Drogba was urging hundreds of internal girl to chant, “I guarantee we won’t migrate! we guarantee we won’t migrate! we guarantee we won’t migrate!”

Drogba, who altered as a child to France and spent many of his football career in Europe, was as a special guest during a unison by renouned Ivorian song rope “Magic System”, during a “Palais des Sports de Treichville”, an indoor sporting formidable during a heart of Abidjan. The unison was partial of a array of events holding place in a city on a eve of a Fifth EU-Africa Summit.

When we arrived shortly before a concert, a whole track was buzzing with excitement. People were chanting and entertaining as they waited to see their favourite football star. But it did not take me prolonged to realize that what we was witnessing was not usually a concert. It was an EU-funded promotion eventuality opposite migration.

During a concert, band members, Drogba and other high-profile guest took turns addressing a crowd. And each singular one of their speeches carried a same message: “You should not migrate.”

“Emigration is no resolution to a problems,” pronounced a lead thespian of a rope during some point. “The best approach to be happy is to stay here with us.” 

Today, supposed “sensibilisation and information campaigns” like this one are a pivotal underline of Europe’s purported quarrel opposite a base causes of migration. The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa allocates 1 million euros ($1.24m) for “raising recognition on a dangers of bootleg migration”. Some member states spend their possess income on identical events.

The “concert” was not a usually “migration” themed side eventuality of a EU-Africa Summit in Abidjan. A few days later, we found myself in a assembly of a panel debate, during that 8 people spent dual hours deliberating a base causes of emigration though ever mentioning Europe’s role. The row was organized by a French Institute and financed by a German unfamiliar ministry. It was also upheld by a International Organisation for Migration. According to a organisers, a aim of a row was to take divided a tension from a discuss about migration.

In reality, a row was formed only on emotion.

If Europe unequivocally wanted to do something about “the base causes of migration”, such as formulating jobs, compliance a possess trade policies would be a good approach to start.


There were unhappy images of mothers who had mislaid their migrant children, there were striking photos of passed migrant bodies cleared ashore on Mediterranean coasts, there were pathetic images of migrant group being beaten by their captors in Libya, there were photos of artificial refugees being returned to West Africa on a craft … The summary of a row was utterly clear: If we migrate, all of this will occur to we and it will all be your possess fault.

The room was intoxicated with other “information materials”, pushing home a same message. “No to strange migration”, pronounced a front side of a receptacle bags that hung on each other chair in a cinema that hosted a debate.

The other side of a bag pronounced “My bliss is here”, alongside a map of a Ivory Coast. “The sea kills, a dried as good – no to strange migration!” admitted a print on a wall.

‘Your bliss is here’

The EU and a member states spend a lot of income revelation immature people in Africa how good their continent is. Yet, they never discuss a fact that EU trade policies are one of a categorical reasons behind a continent’s inability to offer appealing opportunities to a youth.

For example, a categorical trade product of a Ivory Coast is cocoa. With an annual trade value of $3.75bn, it creates adult roughly one-third of a country’s sum exports.

But, surprisingly, a Ivory Coast is not one of a world’s categorical exporters of chocolate – a product done out of cocoa.

The EU, though, exports around $18bn value of chocolate, amounting to around 75 percent of a world’s annual chocolate exports. The whole African continent – where a cocoa trees grow – stays distant behind, with reduction than $200m value of chocolate exports. How can it be that a continent on that no cocoa tree can tarry outward a hothouse creates 90 times some-more chocolate than a continent on that cocoa trees grow naturally?

The answer is simple: trade links and regulations that haven’t altered most given colonial times. The tariff regulations towards African states concede European countries to import cocoa beans though any additional charges. However, processed goods, such as chocolate, catch a hefty import surcharge, origination it unprofitable to routine cocoa in situ. The genuine profits, however, are generated not in flourishing a beans, though in estimate them.

If Europe unequivocally wanted to do something about “the base causes of migration”, such as formulating jobs, compliance a possess trade policies would be a good approach to start. Thousands – if not millions – of jobs could be combined by permitting cocoa to be processed in West Africa. And cocoa and chocolate are usually one example. With a elementary change in trade tariffs, whole commodity bondage could be established.

Africa has a immature race that is fast growing, so jobs are urgently needed. The EU and a African Union acknowledge this plea and fake to work on it, though they uncover no seductiveness in reforming European trade policies in a approach that would concede pursuit origination within Africa.

“Progressive” army in Europe fake to be fighting a base causes of migration, but, in reality, a measures they are holding are emasculate during best.

The narratives they use in their “fight opposite migration” simply shimmer over a genuine issues and assistance keep a standing quo, which, in this case, is spiteful African economies, and contributing to gripping people bad and unfortunate adequate to risk their lives seeking improved vital conditions. 

If Europe simply reforms a rapacious trade complement rather than use football stars as promotion instruments, Ivory Coast could good turn a bliss with adequate jobs for a youth. 

The views voiced in this essay are a author’s possess and do not indispensably simulate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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