According to a recent survey by Afrobarometer, an independent, pan-African research network, more than one-third of the African population has considered emigrating in search for opportunity.
The continent-wide survey reveals that young and educated population are the ones most likely contemplating on leaving their countries. “But contrary to the notion that migrants are simply a country’s most impoverished citizens, youth and education are far more strongly correlated with interest in emigration than poverty,” stated Afrobarometer.
“Potential emigrants are overwhelmingly motivated by a hunger for jobs and economic opportunity.”
The study showed Zimbabwe and Lesotho as the countries with the highest rates of people applying for visas or taking concrete steps to leave. Over half of the people living Cabo Verde, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Togo, São Tomé and Príncipe in West Africa consider leaving with Cabo Verde and Sierra Leone recording the highest rates at 57 percent.
Contrary to the norm, most Africans are not considering migrating to Europe neither are they planning to go to North America instead they are planning to migrate to a different state within the African continent. The major challenge hindering movements within the continent is that citizens of African countries still need a visa to travel to more than half of the continent’s 54 countries.
For the minority who say they want to leave the continent, 27 percent think of going to Europe while 22 percent want to migrate to North America. People in southern African depicted the strongest preference for staying in the region (58 percent) while in North Africa, only 8 percent prefer staying in the region.
40 percent of men according to the report, say they are considering to emigrate while for women it is 33 percent. Notably, the research found out that people living in urban areas have a stronger desire to migrate (44 percent) compared to rural dwellers (32 percent).
Another key point to note from the research findings is that more than one in three Africans have considered moving abroad. Close to half of those reveal it is a thought that has crossed their mind “a lot”
Afrobarometer also discovered that one in five African depends at least “a little bit” on cash payments sent to them from a different country. A quarter of those surveyed say someone in their family has lived in another country during the past three years.
The findings are based on surveys in 34 countries, part of Round 7 results in polling published by Afrobarometer since 1999. The countries covered are home to almost 80% of the continent’s population. The interviews are conducted face-to-face in a preferred language.
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