Lack of Jobs in Africa Could Spark Massive Migration to Europe

Tunisian unemployed people shout slogans during a demonstration against the government's policy on December 10, 2016 outside the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in Tunis, as the draft budget for 2017 is being reviewed by parliament. / AFP / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)

The economies of the developing world cannot keep pace with an increase in population, meaning millions of people from Africa will likely migrate to Europe, a new report has found.

The report, from the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation (ILO), states that the economies of developing nations in Arica, Asia, and South America cannot keep pace with the number of young people entering the workforce. The result, especially in Africa, will mean that many are ready to migrate and look for jobs elsewhere – and their main target will likely be Europe Die Welt reports

Economists expect that the number of unemployed in African states will skyrocket, as the slow growth of African economies may only produce a few hundred thousand jobs over the next year. By contrast, the ILO expects there to be millions of young people entering the job market across the African continent. 

Unemployment in Africa currently stands at around eight percent, but the total number of those unemployed will rise by over a million from 37.1 million to 38.3 million, of which nine million are in North Africa. 

In sub-Saharan Africa, which has some of the highest birth rates in the world, an estimated one-third of all people say they are willing to migrate for work. Some migrants are willing to look for work in neighbouring countries, but for many the ideal destination is Europe; specifically Germany given its current status as the strongest economy in the European Union. 

Though Germany’s economy is largely positive, the rest of the European Union is struggling to create enough well-paying jobs. In Spain around 400,000 jobs have been created, but many of them are part-time or low skilled, resulting in many young people not able to find careers that match their educational background.  

The report also notes that almost half of the unemployed people in the European Union have been looking for work for the past twelve months or more. 

The ILO report’s findings reflect those of an Austrian Army Intelligence report which estimated the possibility of millions of African economic migrants flooding into Europe by 2020.

Frontex, the European Union border agency, has also noted the trend towards increased African economic migrantion. Last year they released a report warning that West African countries could soon eclipse the Middle East and Central Asia in terms of the number of migrants coming from those regions.

2016 saw the largest wave of migrants crossing from the African continent into Italy over the Mediterranean sea, but Italian lawmakers have vowed to tackle the issue and begin deportations of migrants who fail their asylum claims or are migrating for purely economic reasons.  

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at


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