NewsNorth AfricaAfrica to get $3.8 bn to stem migrants crisis


Posted on Thursday, 12 November 2015 07:56

Africa to get $3.8 bn to stem migrants crisis

By Konye Obaji Ori

File photo©ReutersAfrican countries will receive $3.8 billion in aid from Europe in exchange for help to tackle the migration crisis affecting rich countries, it has been revealed.

The European Commission, a 28-nation executive arm of the European Union (EU), is setting up a 1.8-billion-euro "trust fund" for Africa and has urged member states to match that sum. According to reports, the money is meant to persuade African leaders to take back more economic migrants from the EU.

Eritreans make up the bulk of nearly 140,000 migrants who arrived in Italy from Africa by sea in 2015, along with 18,000 Nigerians and 8,000 Sudanese, according to International Organisation for Migration figures.

The EU wants to keep a focus on migration from Africa because, as one diplomat said, it is a "long-term problem." The proposed funding is expected to go towards tackling the root causes of migration like poverty and armed conflict.

At the summit in Malta were leaders from more than 30 African countries, including Libya as well as Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

Leaders of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria in the drought-stricken Lake Chad basin, where 2.5 million people have been displaced by abject poverty and the Boko Haram Islamist militant movement, were also expected to attend.

Reports say European countries will "enhance collaboration" with African countries to protect refugees, send home irregular migrants and stop those who smuggle them, while offering Africans legal channels of migration.

"That is why this week's summit in Valletta is so important," EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters on Monday.

Meanwhile, the migration crisis shows no signs of abating as winter approaches, with EU member Slovenia on Tuesday outlining plans to build "obstacles" potentially including fences on its border with Croatia to stem the flow of migrants, most of whom have been displaced by the Syrian crisis.

After Hungary sealed its borders last month, Slovenia found itself on the main Balkans route for the thousands of migrants who are landing in Greece every day after braving the short but dangerous sea crossing from Turkey.

African officials plan to redraft proposals for the return and readmission of migrants at the summit.

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