Eight myths on the migration–development nexus that European and African policymakers need to reconsider

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Migration is a political priority for the European Union (EU), as evident in the Commission ́s proposal for the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021–27. It is also a major focus of the EU ́s relations with Africa. The fact that the word migration is used 19 times in the 13-page Final Declaration of the 5th African Union (AU)–EU Summit shows that this focus is increasingly overwhelming. While currently on- trend, migration is not a new topic in Africa–EU political discussions. On the contrary, the EU ́s engagement with African countries on migration dates back to the early 2000s. At the beginning, both development and security-oriented approaches were adopted. However, in recent years a shift towards security and border control has occurred. This shift has also influenced the way the migration–development nexus has been framed. As a result, a security-inspired nexus has emerged. Based on this nexus, misconceptions on migration and development have gained relevance.

Key Messages

  • In the last years, the EU’s migration agenda and its engagement with Africa on migration have shifted towards security and border control.
  • Migration can contribute to development in both countries of origin and destination. However, it needs to be supported by holistic and long-term policies.
  • EU investment and development aid won’t curb migration. However, they can contribute to rendering it more beneficial.
  • Africa–EU partnership agreements should be flexible enough to be adapted to national specificities.
  • Migration as an adaptation strategy to environmental change needs to be supported.

Read the full paper here.

Authors: Irene Schöfberger and Bernardo Venturi

Image courtesy of European Council President via Flickr.

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