Migration is sustainable when it meets the needs of countries of origin, transit and destination, while accompanying migrant populations without depleting natural and human resources Under what conditions do we consider migration sustainable? What do we mean by sustainability of migration in an age when more people are on the move on a global scale? What does this mean with regard to the specific case of the African continent? While intra-continental African migration has decreased by approximately 38% in the last 15 years, the number of people moving from one African country to another is still greater than the number of those leaving Africa for Europe by approximately 68.5%. Extra-continental emigration to Europe is on the rise. With regard to Africa, the increased movement of people is also caused by the fact that, from the late 1990s, there has been a sharp and proportional increase in “riots and protests” (ACLED, 2016) whose nature, causes and effects go beyond the scope of this paper. However, the reality is that the number of African young people is rapidly and relentlessly expanding against the backdrop of limited opportunities. To address this, there is a need to develop new policies to capture the potential social and economic benefits of Africa’s population growth and to make population movements sustainable. While the question of sustainability in general remains contested, sustainable migration between the two continents of Africa and Europe is one that meets the needs and priorities of countries of origin, transit and destination while aiding voluntary and forced migrant populations by avoiding the depletion of natural and human resources, more so human life. Policy choices and actions can capture the enormous potential of African migrants to turn them into a healthy, educated, empowered labour force that can contribute to the real and sustained economic growth of both Africa and Europe.
* Lorenzo Rinelli, Lecturer and Researcher, Political Science Faculty, University of California, Rome Centre