The Mediterranean route accounted for half of all migrants that died or went missing in 2018, according to IOM | Photo: Picture Alliance / dpa / SOS Mediterranee / L. Schmid
The Mediterranean route accounted for half of all migrants that died or went missing in 2018, according to IOM | Photo: Picture Alliance / dpa / SOS Mediterranee / L. Schmid

Mo Ibrahim, a Sudan-born billionaire, who made his money in telecommunications, (and has set up a foundation to encourage better governance in Africa with some of the profits), said at a meeting of his foundation in Ivory Coast in early April that migration should be viewed as a positive phenomenon and not a threat.

“Migration is healthy. It’s not a disease,” Mo Ibrahim told the Associated Press on Sunday April 7. “Migration is about aspirations, not desperation. People who migrate are mostly capable, ambitious young people who are migrating to work and to build successful lives. They add wealth to the countries they go to.” He added that Africans make up around 14 percent of the global migrant population which is a much smaller percentage than those from Asia at 41 percent and from Europe at around 23 percent.

Changing perceptions of migration

With his speech, the billionaire appeared to want to change perceptions of Europe being “flooded” with Africans. He explained that the majority (around 70 percent) of Africans actually migrated within Africa and didn’t ever relocate to Europe.

Ibrahim himself now lives in Britain and holds British citizenship. With his foundation, he hopes to encourage better governance across the African continent and pushes for increased education and employment opportunities for young people. At his latest foundation meeting, which are held regularly in African cities, he proclaimed that agriculture be seen as the new “sexy” enterprise and a “way [to] the future for Africa.”


 

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