Former Prime Minister Nahas Angula this week defended African migrants taking the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life, saying Europe’s plundering of Africa’s natural resources is the cause of such migration.
He spoke in his personal capacity at a panel discussion on the current global security challenges from a European and African perspective, organized in Windhoek by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).
The discussions were led by Henning Otte, a member of parliament of the German Bundestag, and Senior Research Fellow for Foreign Policy for the South African Institute for International Affairs, Dr Alfredo Hengari.
Responding to a comment made by Hengari during his presentation, claiming that Africa is exporting insecurity to Europe, Angula said the export of African resources to western countries is the primary cause of the ongoing illegal migration because African resources are used to develop Europe.
“If you want them to stop crossing the sea, then stop extracting our resources. That way we can use our resources to develop the continent,” he said
Unless one reverses the economic arrangement, said Angula, one will continue to receive African migrants.
“To those saying Africa is exporting insecurity, they should know that the insecurity is created by extractive industries operating in Africa, which extract and export African resources. Migrants are following raw materials. If we create industries rather than extracting and exporting, migrants will have jobs at home,” he said.
Hengari said: “It is not my own formulation, but if one looks at the security strategy of the European Union crafted in 2003, it talks of threats emanating from Africa that could destabilize Europe, and one of the threats is illegal immigration.”
From January to April this year more than 1 700 people are believed to have died when boats ferrying them to Europe capsized.
Otte stressed the need to establish the reasons for prompting the migration.
“Solutions will range from stabilizing countries and having good governance,” he said.
“Migrants have financial power to pay for transport into Europe, but it will be better if those people are kept in their own countries in order to develop it to avoid a brain drain,” Otte said.