King Mohammed VI: Climate Change Catalyzes Forced Migration in Africa

“Floods, drought and other effects of climate change are driving millions of African men and women from their homes,” the King argued.

King Mohammed VI described climate change as a “driver of forced migration in Africa” in a report to the 33rd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani submitted the report yesterday on behalf of the King, following the establishment of the African Migration Observatory.

“Floods, drought and other effects of climate change are driving millions of African men and women from their homes,” the King’s report states.

Migration in Africa is often associated solely with poverty; however, other factors such as climate change are at the root of the phenomenon, the document argues.

Africa is the continent most affected by “climate migrants,” or migrants driven by climate-related factors. By 2050, sub-Saharan Africa may produce 86 million of the 140 million potential “climate migrants,” the report predicts.

Migration and development

The King’s report went on to stress the role of migration in development, highlighting that migrants sent £529 billion to their countries of origin in 2018.

“These remittances very often exceed official development assistance and foreign direct investment,” it points out.
However, Africa is the continent that receives the lowest remittances.

Although remittances to sub-Saharan Africa increased by almost 10% in 2018, they remain the lowest in the world at $46 billion.
Africa also has the highest remittance transfer costs in the world. Although the global target is 3% under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, African remittance transfer costs amount to more than 9%.

The transfer of funds represents an “untapped potential,” the report argues.
Remittances to Africa can be a real lever for the endogenous development, the report underlines, noting in this regard that the digitalization of remittances “must be accompanied by increased traceability and productive and sustainable use of savings by diasporas, in order to create wealth in the long term.”

The contribution of migrants to development “is not a one-way process” and it is not just about remittances to countries of origin. Rather, migrants contribute to development within host countries.

However, stereotypes about African migration “remain a universal misconception,” the King emphasizes in his report, arguing that security approaches, political instrumentalization, and electoral calculations contribute to the distortion of the migration phenomenon.

The King points out that only less than 14% of international migrants are African, and that no African country is among the top 10 countries of origin of international migrants.
The 33rd African Union Session opened Monday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”

El Othmani is leading the Moroccan delegation, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita; the minister delegate to the minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohcine Jazouli; and the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the African Union and to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Mohamed Arrouchi.

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