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Youth Forum: EU deserves pat on the back for ‘emergency fund’ on migration

Oct 6, 2015, 10:54 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

We are saying a big thank you to the European Union (EU) for their recent humanitarian gestures, relentless efforts in fighting against the migration trend in the African countries, including my own country, The Gambia.

We have witnessed or read the series of reports about European Union’s efforts to combat the illegal migration, which has cost the lives of many African youths who had the potentials and skills to contribute their quota to national development.

The purpose of human life, especially for the youth folk is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.

Therefore, we the youths have a big chance to contribute our part to national development, because of our health and strength as youths.

The EU’s injecting of $2 billion to the fight against illegal migration, which includes a quota for The Gambia, according to recent reports, is indeed in the right direction.

The European Union has apportioned US$2.04 billion (€1.8 billion) for African countries to stem the migration trend from the continent. This would go a long way in saving the lives of young people who believe that going to Europe is the only possible way to develop their lives.

The Gambia is among the countries to benefit from the “emergency” fund by the EU to address the causes of migration and displacement of persons on the continent.

The other countries to benefit from the fund are Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

Whether this would help to stem the current wave of migration in Africa is yet to be determined, as the youths of the region are desperately into crossing the Mediterranean dead or alive to make it to Europe, where their fate is increasingly becoming unclear, as those who manage to make their way continue to face another round of struggle in European countries.

The EU is now facing a major migrant crisis that needs the involvement of both the source and destination countries, EU Commissioner for International Co-operation and Development, Neven Mimica, has said, adding that the fund, which will be launched before the end of the year, would be of great help to African countries in the quest to address the socio-economic challenges that force people to migrate from their original homes in search of greener pastures.

“The EU will work to help African countries achieve economic development that tackles unemployment and prevents migration and radicalisation,” said Mimica at a recent press briefing in Nairobi, Kenya.

While the fund is expected to foster stability in the region and contribute to better migration management, the International Organisation for Migration is reported to have detected more than 350,000 migrants at the EU’s borders between January and August 2015, compared with 280,000 detections for the whole of 2014.

This, however, does not include those who entered the 28-member bloc.

The recent trend of migration in the region has taken its toll on Gambian youths, with about 500 or more Gambians having lost their lives over the recent years in the desert and Mediterranean trying to reach Europe.

Whether the EU’s US$2 billion will be of any meaningful help to this crisis is a matter of wait and see.