Compiled by Garriba Frank
Comfort Yubuin, 42, Legal Practitioner, Nigeria
Many factors are responsible for the massive migration of young people from across Africa to foreign countries. A large majority do that out of the perceived expectation of getting a better life and earning more money abroad.
I had a discussion with someone who travelled abroad in search of a better life.
He told me he had a job in and a car in Nigeria but his friends in Nigeria told him there were better opportunities abroad. He abandoned his job and sold his car and joined his friends to travel to the UK.
In England, life was very tough and he wished he never left his job. In the end, he was deported and he had to start life all over again in Nigeria
Some family members also pressurize young people to travel abroad so they too could have a family member in a foreign country. Some travel and become successful but most are not successful.
Education is a symbol of success and people some people feel that a certificate from a university abroad gives them an edge over people who graduate from African universities
As far as I am concerned, African governments need to be more proactive and develop their economies enough to have jobs for the thousands of youths who graduate from universities each year. African governments should also be educating their citizens on the problems that migrants face abroad.
Africa, especially Nigeria, is a land of opportunities. People should look around and find something they can do in their country instead of travelling abroad for whatever reasons.
Folefac Richard, Maryland, USA
I think working abroad, if the chance is available, is the only chance of surviving for folks like us.
We get educated in our homeland and yours after graduating, we are still squatting in our parent’s’ houses, unable to get any kind of job. This is no way of surviving which is why I believe travelling abroad is the best way out of the problem.
Most jobs abroad may offer higher salaries and/or a better standard of living than in our homeland and that is the case in most parts of Europe and America.
It is unfortunate that we get trained in Africa but need to travel abroad for somehow to hire us for the skills we have acquired. Getting and keeping a job abroad is also hard work because you sometimes need to retrain and you must have particular skills from communications to working as part of a team to keep your job. You also learn to be flexible and a lot of other skills you never thought were necessary or were not trained for in Africa. You get to experience a different culture and must learn to adapt to a new environment.
Travelling abroad to work was great for me and I encourage anyone who has a chance to do same.
Victoria Danbaba, 30, Journalist, Nigeria
The problem of unemployment is an age old problem that over time seems to lack a lasting solution. It has often left questions begging for answers in the minds of those who have dared to face the problem head-on. Studies have shown that about three quarters of youths in every community are unemployed. It is indeed a time bomb waiting to explode and hence needs to be given the attention it deserves.
Some people think travelling and working abroad is the solution to the overall problem of unemployment in Africa but the problem is more complicated than that.
One should ask if everyone willing to work in his target country is gainfully employed. Are there not people in those countries Africans emigrate to still struggling to make ends meet? Would I not be increasing the population of the unemployed when I get there?
Once these questions are truthfully answered, anyone considering this option would understand that running away is not the best idea. The saying goes “he who runs from the fight would surely live to fight it another day so I honestly think anyone can explore the employment opportunities in his own country no matter how little they may be.
Suffice it to say that some of these Africans end up taking up jobs rejected by nationals of those countries.
Let us not also fail to admit that most of these people end up like prostitutes, human traffickers and smugglers while holding on to menial jobs as day jobs. You may also want to ask where some of these folks lay their heads at the end of each day. Well most go back to rejected quarters , houses with no heating systems, bad toilets, etc.
We cannot fail to mention the untold hardship most of these folks pass through to get to their fantasy lands of no suffering. Some of them have no legitimate passports hence they spend months on end travel-hiding avoiding boarder checks in various countries the unlucky ones get deported. Others end up spending most of what should have been happy days looking over their shoulders.
Fumlack Daniel, 55, Civil Servant (Community health Extension worker), Nigeria
In my opinion,the answer is YES AND/OR NO. Yes in my opinion those who emigrate to work overseas become answers to the unemployment that is on the rise everyday across the African continent since the leaders are unable and unwilling to create jobs for them.
It is particularly difficult for people with some highbrow qualifications.
When they travel abroad, they give the greedy African leaders breathing space.
These people may one day come armed technically and financially to become employers to further reduce unemployment by providing jobs for some people. That is solution one.
NO. Emigration has always been brain drain. Staying in one’s country with the acquired knowledge, one can create employment and provide lasting solution to unemployment if the leaders are focused themselves and create conducive environment for this to happen, Emigrating will no longer be an answer to unemployment
Enokela Ebiega Abel, 43, Director of Studies, Wilcrest College, Abuja
It is common place nowadays to see many Africans wanting to travel out of their countries to other continents like Europe, America etc.to seek for greener pastures rather staying to fix the problems at home. Even though this attitude of emigrating seems to be rampant among many Africans, I am of the opinion that travelling to foreign countries cannot be a panacea to the high unemployment rate across Africa. I strongly believe also that travelling out of the continent has contributed immeasurably to the high unemployment rate.
I have the following points to buttress my submission.
First, most Africans who travel out of the continent in search of better standards of living often get disappointed as they realize that there is no place like home. Some roam the streets of their “new” countries without any meaningful reward. They remain jobless and hopeless. For those who eventually do so, they get jobs that are not status enhancing-menial jobs that most of them would not like to do! Some end up working as cleaners, gardeners, gatemen etc. Some of these people would have been more useful if they remained in their home countries.
When they get jobs they did not train for, they eventually lose some of their skills they acquired back in Africa.
Another reason why I think leaving Africa to other continents cannot solve the unemployment problem is that emigration leads to brain drain. If any African is found to be exceptional he/she would be offered a good job and nice pay to enhance retention. However, Africa will miss the contributions of such useful people. This of course leads to the under development of the African continent. Similarly, some Africans invest heavily abroad depriving the continent of much needed resources.
Furthermore, travelling out of Africa cannot solve unemployment problems because you don’t solve a problem by running away from it. You rather stay and strategise on how to overcome the problem. If Africans spend the same time looking for ways to resolve unemployment as they do trying to travel abroad, Africa will be a better place today.