The influx of sea-borne migrants from Africa risking their lives to seek a better life in Europe should make Africa worried. Last week, over 2,600 migrants in boats from Africa were rescued by Italy's navy in the Mediterranean. By July 4 this year, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) had recorded 63,600 sea-borne migrants headed for Europe, up from the 62,000 recorded in the whole of 2011.
While migration is part of human activity, it raises an alarm especially when it is triggered by human factors that make the lives of their fellow human beings unbearable.The people rescued last week included individuals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Algeria, countries marked by political repression. The continent’s leaders must be worried about the waning confidence of the African citizenry in their continent and lay strategies to build this confidence.
The push and pull factors that make Africans to risk their lives must be urgently addressed. One place to begin is to surface the immense potential inherent on the continent, invest in the citizenry to tap this potential and improve the living standards of the African people as opposed to treating them as mere statistics. Over 20,000 lives have been lost in the last 20 years, as men, women and children cross the Mediterranean sea in pursuit of a better life in Europe. This must be addressed.