Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) – “We call for justice and equity in trade in goods and services, but especially with regard to natural resources, which are taken each year from Africa”, say the Bishops of Africa and Europe, in a joint statement issued by the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences in the European Union (COMECE) and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), published in view of the African Union and European Union Summit, to be held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from November 28 to 29.
Bishops call on African and European political leaders to work together in order to give young Africans a future through job creation and expectations about an adequate environment for sustainable development.
Young Africans – stress the Bishops – are victims of human traffickers. “We therefore hope – says the statement – for a strong statement by the participants of the AU-EU summit on migration and especially the fight against human trafficking. Furthermore, we would expect the EU to reinforce its commitment for sustainable development programs on the occasion of the summit”.
The fight against human trafficking is therefore not separated from offering young African people the opportunity to develop their own life on their continent. “New local industries and sustainable development of agriculture may furthermore help to reduce the stress which forces young people to leave their homeland and diminish the phenomenon generally known as ‘brain drain’”, the Bishops say.
One of the factors often ignored in European countries where young Africans head towards is the so-called “brain drain”, which further impoverishes African states.
Between 1980 and 2010, the number of African migrants living in Europe doubled, reaching 30.6 million people, according to a 2014 World Bank Report. That figure represented 3 percent of the continent’s total population.
These immigrants often enter Europe legally, and include the 20,000 doctors, university lecturers, engineers and other professionals that the IOM reports have been leaving the continent annually since 1990.
At the same time, it is estimated nearly $4 billion is spent to employ Westerners to fill positions in Africa that could have been performed by Africans who instead are living abroad.
The Bishops of both continents have proposed ways to stem the immigration tide – especially the “brain drain” – which they say will help the development of the African continent. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/11/2017)
Joint appeal of African and European Bishops: "Human trafficking and brain drain from Africa are being fought".