Saturday, 5 September 2015

A Long-Term Solution To Europe's African Migrant Crisis?

If adventurous and ambitious younger generation Ghanaians - and other young Africans across the continent - had opportunities to be successful at home, one doubts very much that they would risk their lives paying ruthless people-smugglers in Libya, and elsewhere, to transport them in unseaworthy boats, to enter Europe illegally.

European nations need to understand that if young people in nations like Ghana lack opportunities at home, to improve their lives, they will continue to try to enter Europe, to look for opportunities there - regardless of what steps European nations take to stem the tide of migrants arriving by boat from the north African coast.

Perhaps the European Union can encourage European companies to use chambers of commerce in member states to organise matchmaking trips to nations like Ghana, to seek local business partners to set up joint-venture businesses, which can offer employment to young people across Africa.

A Dutch example, in an initiative - GhanaVeg - aimed at  helping to turn Ghana's vegetable farming sector's value-chain into a world-class one, by encouraging partnerships between Ghanaians in the sector, and their Dutch counterparts, is worth emulating across Europe.

If, for example, all Europe's leading supermarket chains agreed to source their own-label dark chocolate from Ghana - from European and Ghanaian joint-venture chocolate manufacturing factories -  will that  not help create thousands of jobs for young people in Ghana?

Will that not be a few thousand young Ghanaians who will not be tempted to make that perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea in leaky and rusting boats to enter Europe illegally to try and better their lot there?

And if European agro-forestry companies collaborated with Chiefs, and large private landowning families in Ghana, for example, to set up joint-venture businesses with fringe-forest rural communities, to initiate agro-forestry projects to grow trees in plantations, would that not bring wealth into those areas - and offer employment opportunities to young Ghanaians across rural Ghana's forest belt?

Europe needs to understand that a prosperous Africa that offers opportunities for its young people, will ensure its own stability and prosperity too.

That is why the time has now come for Europe to force its multinational companies from engaging in transfer pricing between subsidiaries in places like Liechtenstein that robs Africa of billions of dollars in tax revenues - revenues that can be used to modernise and expand Africa's infrastructure.

European nations  also need to expose and freeze the billions of euros held in secret bank accounts across Europe by corrupt African politicians - as most of those funds were stolen from nations in the continent: and can be used to create revolving funds to help develop Africa's private sector.

And if all the cash in dormant accounts in banks in Europe were pooled into a revolving fund that the African Development Bank could use to fund start-ups across the continent, at low rates of interest, would that not empower Africa's brightest and best  young people, to grow Africa's private-sector?

And would that not create wealth and jobs galore across Africa - and encourage more young people to remain at home and work hard to create a better future for themselves too?

Above all, the European Union ought to commit itself to encouraging European companies to enter into joint-venture partnerships, with companies in nations such as  Ghana, which will create jobs for young people - as a long-term solution to ending the waves of boatloads of young African migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, to seek a better life in Europe.

On this particular issue, Europe must not think it can eat its cake and still have it. It cannot be business as usual - the old exploitative story of rip-off-contracts signed between European companies and corrupt African regimes, which fleece whole societies across Africa.

The impoverished societies resulting from that ruthless exploitation of African nations by European companies, is what breeds the sense of hopelessness that is driving tens of thousands of young Africans, to Europe's shores - in search of opportunities unavailable to them in their home countries.

The only viable long-term solution to the problem of boatloads of tens of thousands of young African migrants flooding Europe from the north African coast, is for European businesses to invest in win-win joint-venture partnerships with African businesses, to create jobs and wealth across Africa.



























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