Saturday, 29 January 2011

Near 22m Africans left continent in 2010; biggest exodus by Nigerians

HULA LAKES, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 27:  Migrating c...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Source: Global Post

By Nigerian Curiosity

According to the World Bank's Migration And Remittances Factbook 2011, 21.8 million Africans left the continent in 2010. That number represented a total of 2.5% of the continent's population. Nigerians apparently left the country in large numbers as well, representing the 6th largest group of emigrants.

The top 10 countries from which Africans emigrated in 2010 are as follows:

   1. Burkina Faso
   2. Zimbabwe
   3. Mozambique
   4. Cote D'Ivoire
   5. Mali
   6. Nigeria
   7. Sudan
   8. Eritrea
   9. Democratic Republic of Congo
  10. South Africa

If there is any consolation, Nigeria is not losing as many skilled workers as other countries like Cape Verde (67.5%), Gambia (63.3%), Ghana (46.9%), Kenya (38.4%) to name a few countries. Still, a majority of Nigerians move to the following African countries: Benin, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Spain, Togo. As for non-African countries, most Nigerian emigrants end up in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy.

Amazingly, it turns out that Nigeria is also one the most popular African countries for African immigrants fleeing distress, famine and other problems in their home nations. The most popular countries to which Africans moved in 2010 are the following:

   1. Cote D'Ivoire
   2. South Africa
   3. Ghana
   4. Nigeria
   5. Burkina Faso
   6. Kenya
   7. Sudan
   8. Tanzania
   9. Uganda
  10. Ethiopia

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Nigeria hosts a minimum of 7000 refugees, primarily of Liberian origin. However, most immigrants to Nigeria came from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sierra Leone and Togo.

I wonder what it says that at least 5 other countries apart from Nigeria are both top destinations for both emigration and immigration on the continent. They are South Africa, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Sudan. With the ongoing problems in Cote D'Ivoire (CIV), the question becomes whether CIV will lose its position next year. Similarly, bombings in Nigeria and other violence could play a role in changing that country's status as a top destination for immigrants. But, then again, given the relative insecurity in the countries from which these same immigrants are fleeing, Nigeria might continue to seem like a better option.
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