African perspectives: holding a mirror up to Europe’s migration policies

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African perspectives: holding a mirror up to Europe’s to migration policies


While fear-mongering headlines warn of mass African migration to Europe, the reality on the ground tells a different story. In 2017, there were 36.3 million African migrants – around 14% of the global migrant population at the time. But these numbers conceal a more complicated picture. Most Africans move within Africa – less than a quarter travel to Europe and most who do so travel legally. With its aging population, it might be imagined that Europe would embrace this migration from Africa, welcoming these motivated future citizens, employees and neighbours with open arms. Despite this, damaging xenophobic narratives have moved into the mainstream, and European policies continue to centre around strengthening borders and stopping migration. This debate will look to African perspectives on migration, aiming to offer recommendations for overcoming the gap between migration policies and realities.

This Policy Insight is part of Friends of Europe’s Migration Action programme, which aims to examine the imperative of migration in the context of economic sustainability and demographics, as well as its impact on public services, communities and security.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet



Welcome and registration of participants
Session I – Why people move
Lunch break
Session II – Policy versus reality
End of Policy Insight


Heaven Crawley
Heaven Crawley

Chair in International Migration at Coventry University

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Heaven Crawley leads Coventry University’s UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub (MIDEQ), a global consortium aiming to transform knowledge and understanding of the relationships between migration, inequality and development in the context of the Global South. Crawley has published extensively on a wide range of asylum and immigration issues including the drivers of migration and migrant decision-making, gender issues in forced migration, refugee and migrant rights, the experiences of children and young people on the move, attitudes towards migration and migrants, and the politics of migration policymaking. From 2015-18 her work focused primarily on the experiences of those crossing the Mediterranean during Europe’s so-called ‘migration crisis’ and the failures of politicians, policymakers and the media to accurately reflect and respond to evidence on its causes and consequences.

Photo of Shada Islam
Shada Islam

Director of Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe

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Shada works on issues related to the future of Europe, minority and integration challenges as well as on Europe’s relations with emerging nations. She set up the Asia Programme for Friends of Europe in 2011 and also leads its work on development issues. She is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and continues to write for leading international publications.


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