WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Because migration has become a hot button issue in Africa. Africa-Europe trans-Saharan migration is attracting a lot of attention because of its perils. While Africans generally criticize European countries for their hard stance against African migration, the richer African countries are increasingly enacting protectionist policies to prevent in-bound migration from poorer African countries. 

Anti-immigrant rhetoric stemming from far-right movements and politicians in the US and Europe has grown increasingly vocal in recent years. But, as it turns out, a majority of people in some of Africa’s largest economies do not want more immigrants either.

A recent Pew Research Center survey of 27 nations shows the four African countries featured—Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Tunisia—have high levels of opposition to more migration. Indeed, except in Tunisia, the percentage of people in the African countries surveyed who do not want an increase in the number of immigrants allowed into their country is higher than the median across all 27 countries analyzed in the report.

While the survey does not detail what is driving attitudes, the four countries listed have long struggled with migration issues. Tunisia’s neighbor Libya has become a major transit hub for sub-Saharan migrants hoping to cross the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. Those who do not make the crossing may look to start a new life in Tunisia, while agreements to limit migrant crossings in Libya have prompted smuggling networks to look to the country as an alternative base. Kenya is home to a large community of Somalis refugees, with which it has a strained relationship.  And South Africa, an established destination for African migrants, has suffered repeated episodes of violent xenophobic attacks against migrants perceived to be taking jobs away from locals.

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