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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.

Twenty-Three Militiamen Killed In Fresh Central Africa Clash

At least 23 militiamen were killed Saturday in fighting in Central African Republic between rival groups who signed a peace deal in February, said the UN mission in the country MINUSCA.

Fierce clashes between militias in recent months has raised concerns about whether the peace accord aimed at ending years of violence in CAR will hold.

The country’s president, Faustin-Archange Touadera, this month told AFP that the agreement was “quite strong” — but MINUSCA on Saturday said fighting had broken out in Birao, a city close to the Sudanese border.

The clashes were between the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC) and the Movement of Central African Freedom Fighters for Justice (MLCJ).

The rival militias also fought in the city earlier this month.

“The situation remains tense but there is no more fighting,” MINUSCA spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said.

“A MINUSCA Blue Helmet was also slightly wounded,” he added, without specifying the nationality.

A Zambian contingent of the multinational force is stationed in the area.

The peace accord with 14 militias vying for control of the country’s gold, diamond and other resources came after years of conflict following the ousting of Touadera’s predecessor Francois Bozize in 2013.

Thousands of people have been killed and about a fifth of the 4.5 million population has been displaced in the last six years.

Touadera has been struggling to prove he can convince the militias, which collectively control more than three-quarters of the territory, to lay down their arms.

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