John Simpson is the BBC’s World Affairs Editor. If ever a self-made man revered his maker, it’s John Simpson.
He’s finally got himself a viral post. 2.4 million people viewed his post disparaging the events earlier this week in Dublin. But, true to form it wasn’t the distressing scene of children being stabbed but the reaction of the local riff-raff that got his goat.
You might think Simpson, being the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, would be pretty well clued up on what drives emigration from Africa. Is it war and global warming or something altogether more mundane?
Migrating from Africa or anywhere else is an expensive business. Generally, it’s not the poor that emigrate but the middle and professional classes. For every migrant crossing the channel in a small boat, 40 other migrants arrive by plane.
A fascinating study of the hopes, dreams and concerns of young Africans has been produced by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, a market research company based in South Africa. Its African Youth Survey 2022 provides one of the few comprehensive analyses of the key drivers of African migration. The study involved 4,500 face to face interviews with 18-24 years olds across 15 African countries.
The study found that 69% of young Africans wanted to migrate within the next five years with most wanting the move to be permanent. Since 2020 there has been an 11 percentage point drop in ‘Afro-optimism’, which the authors identify as one of the key drivers in the wish to emigrate.
The study identifies the main reasons for them wishing to emigrate as:
- Economic reasons 44%
- Education opportunities 41%
- Want to experience something new and different 25%
- Corruption in my country 18%
- Political reasons 12%
- Security reasons 9%
- Reuniting with family members living abroad 9%
- Lack of personal freedoms in my country 9%
- Religious reasons 7%
It may come as a surprise to John Simpson but neither climate change nor war got a look in (though “security reasons” might include conflict fears). Neither did discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The latest data on this I could find related to a U.K. Government study that showed 6% of asylum claims were based on discrimination in the claimants home country.