Africa Expert Warns Western Aid May Have Contributed to Next Migrant Crisis

Migrants arriving on the coast

Africa specialist Stephen Smith has warned that the next migrant crisis is on the horizon as Africa’s population continues to boom and that Western aid, particularly education, may contribute to Africans seeking a better life in Europe.

Mr. Smith, the author of the new book La ruée vers l’Europe, or The Rush To Europe, warned that the exploding demographics of Africa will have direct consequences for Europe. According to Smith, in the coming decades, young Africans will likely migrate to Europe as the slowly developing economies of their home nations cannot provide them jobs, Europe1 reports.

“It’s this pyramid of age that makes 40 per cent of the population less than 15 years old,” Smith said and added, “The migratory pressure can only increase.”

Smith also noted the common misconception that those who come to Europe are from poor economic backgrounds saying middle-class migrants “are the ones who come out of the water, who have a view of the world, who know where to go, who are on Facebook, who have a mobile phone and the 2,000 or 3,000 euros needed to embark on the journey.”

Western development aid might also contribute to the next migrant crisis, according to Smith. “It’s a terrible paradox,” he said adding, “Development aid, we’ve been trying it for almost 60 years. Are there any successes?”

Rejecting a U.S. President Trump-style border wall, Smith said, “When you see the magnitude of the challenge, we currently have 200,000 Africans travelling a year, when we will have tens of millions, it will not hold.”

“We do not want to be a continent surrounded by barbed wire,” he added.

Smith is not the only expert to have warned of a future migrant crisis originating from Africa. In September, the Austrian armed forces intelligence branch released a report in the country’s official army magazine claiming that millions of migrants could be heading to Europe from Africa within the next few decades due to population growth.

Some, like European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, have welcomed the prospect of millions of African migrants. Juncker argued that Europe would be “lost” if lawmakers did not find ways to increase access to legal routes of migration.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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