UN study narrows down why Africans make fraught journey to Europe

UN study narrows down why Africans make fraught journey to Europe

UN agency surveys almost 2,000 people from Africa in Europe to pin down their motivation for migration.

Migrants take dangerous routes from Africa to Europe not because they need protection or jobs but because their countries do not meet their aspirations quickly enough, a new study by the UN’s development agency found.
 
The report published on Monday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) referenced 1,970 migrants from 39 African countries in 13 European nations.
 
The study – titled Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe – said 58 percent of those surveyed were either employed or in school at the time of their departure, and the majority with jobs earning competitive wages.
 
Still, about 50 percent said they were not earning enough. For two-thirds, earning or the prospect of earning in their home countries did not hold them back from leaving.
‘Choicelessness’
 
“Scaling Fences highlights that migration is a reverberation of development progress across Africa, albeit progress that is uneven and not fast enough to meet people’s aspirations. Barriers to opportunity, or ‘choicelessness’, emerge from this study as critical factors informing the calculation of these young people,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator.
 
Gender gap
 
The report also found the experience of being in Europe differed between men and women: the gender wage gap between men and women in Africa reverses in Europe, with women earning 11 percent more, contrasting with making 26 percent less in Africa. A higher proportion of women were also sending money back, even among those not earning.
 
Gender differences were also apparent in experiences with crime, with a slightly higher proportion of women falling victim than men, and significantly more experiencing sexual assault.
 
The study also showed migrants who made the fraught journey from Africa to Europe would do so again despite knowing the dangers of the trip.
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