Millions of African have moved out of Africa to Europe and America in search of better opportunities, risking their lives in the process. Thousands have lost their life in the Mediterranean Sea, others in the desert in their attempts to get to Europe. This determination is fuelled by the belief that life in Africa is characterised by hardship, poverty, misery and disease.
ARE THESE “GREENER PASTURES” REALLY GREEN?
We have all heard stories of Africans who made it to Europe and America and became millionaires. Nevertheless, there are other sides to these success stories and what these people have to go through to succeed or barely survive.
One of the highest pain Africans in search of greener pastures go through is working in deplorable conditions, worse than conditions in Africa. These people are treated like animals in some situations. A perfect example is that of young girls working as house helps and nannies in Kuwait who are usually not allowed to eat, some are tortured and others lose their lives in the process. Some work without salaries, and when there is a salary, it is barely enough to survive on. In other to make ends meet, most people get into illicit businesses such as drug trafficking and prostitution.
Many Africans who migrate to Europe and America face the problem of devaluation of competences. Some people leave well paid jobs in their countries to move to developed countries. Unfortunately, their competences do not match the standards of the countries they find themselves in. As a result, they have no choice than to work in places they are too qualified to work in. Some end up dropping their Masters degree to undergo a nursing certification program just to be able to secure a job as a healthcare provider, which seems to be the most available job for foreigners.
To be able to survive and enjoy some benefits like healthcare and social insurance, available only to the citizens of these developed countries, many Africans are forced to abandon their nationalities in favour of those of their host countries thereby becoming strangers in their own countries.
WHAT BENEFITS FOR THE AFRICAN CONTINENT?
The return of capital to Africa is the most important benefit of the search for greener pastures. Africans who are able to make it in the diaspora have one thought and aim; sending money back home, opening companies, financing projects and helping their communities to grow. They provide jobs for the Africans who do not have the means or the courage to venture into the unknown in search of a better life.
Akon the Senegalese-American singers initiated his “lighting Africa” project in 2014 which has provided electricity to millions of African households, using solar energy. Apart from capital, talents and knowledge also return to Africa as many learn new ideas and bring them back to their countries, which are indispensable for development and economic growth.
Countries that offer dual nationalities to their citizens, like Mali and Senegal benefit a great deal from their citizens in the diaspora. Those with dual nationalities are more involved in projects in their communities and contribute more to its development than those who no longer feel like citizens of their mother countries because they were denied citizenship after adopting a new one. These people still have an affinity to their home countries despite the fact that they have American citizenship.
AFRIC Editorial Article.