Potential of migration:  the African example

Susanne Schmid, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Germany

The presentation is based on results out of a project on "Potential of Migration from Africa to Europe" carried out at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The project aims at obtaining well-grounded assumptions on the intensity of future migration pressure from Africa onto Europe. The study defines "potential of migration" as a qualitative concept and analyses the motive for migration on grounds of regional discrepancies between sending and receiving countries as well as based on supporting migrant networks. To what extent the migration potential will actually be realised depends on the migrants' opportunities, their means for transfer and the existence of helping networks. The study advances in three steps: (1) In the first stance, demographic, political, socio-economic and ecological push- and pull-factors between Africa and Europe are studied. (2) Secondly, data on migrant stocks and flows from Africa to the prominent European destination countries are presented for revealing the relevant migration networks. Further, current migration routes are described. (3) Thirdly, the potential of migration from Africa to Europe is built up by the strength of identified push-pull-factors and the existing migrant networks. The presentation will show how a concomitance of high levels of population growth and ongoing socio-economic and political crises in Africa might increase the migration potential which may, to some greater extent, flow in inner African migration. Intercontinental Migration, particularly from Africa to member states of the EU, goes additionally along the established migrant networks. It can be assumed, that France, Spain and Italy might remain the preferred destination countries of African migrants. The qualitative migration potential analysis seems to be a promising path for getting a wider view on migratory movements in a world of unequal chances and a narrowing spatial distance between them.

  See paper

Presented in Session 2: Migration decisions

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