President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger has called for African and European states to collaborate towards fixed quotas for African immigrants to meet specific employment needs.
Bazoum said this in an interview with an Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Friday. Adding that each European country can work out modalities for its labour market in order to resolve the problem of illegal migration and human trafficking.
The leader spoke on a trip to Italy where he met Italian President Sergio Mattarella and attended a conference in Rome with other African heads of state.
Between 2015 and 2016, Italy was hit by European migration crisis when a million refugees escaped violence and conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, adding to existing migration challenges.
Many migrants who continue to journey to north Africa and travel across the Mediterranean to Europe’s southern coastline come from or pass through Niger. Over 180,000 migrants reached Italy by sea at a peak in 2016.
Thousands still embark on treacherous journeys to European countries each year in hope of finding safer lives and better economic opportunities.
The war in Ukraine has caused food shortages across the world and may spur a new wave of migration from Africa and the Middle East, with over 150,000 arrivals expected in Mediterranean countries on major migrant routes into Europe in 2022.
Bazoum said agreements between African and European states would help regulate regular immigration and tackle irregular immigration “that fuels the worst trafficking”.
He also noted the limits of funding development projects to stem economic migration – a widespread approach in Europe – pointing out that “Africa’s development is something far more complex”.
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