Maina wa Njuguna (Opinion)
Italy’s hard, right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni surmons 25 African Presidents / leaders to Rome this weekend to discuss how little Italy – as heavily indebted as it is can stop Africans illegally migrating to Europe as well as upping up critical energy investments on the continent.
Among her invited guest leaders is the son of Equatorial Guinea dictator who has been sanctioned by the U.K. and was given a suspended fine of $32.5 million by France in 2017 for money laundering and corruption. He attended UN General Assembly last fall to beg more aid for Africa while he boasted on his IG of staying at $75,000-a-night New York hotel suite while his ‘fellow’ country men and women live on less than $2 dollars a day.
Not very long ago as she was campaigning for her current position, had called for a naval blockade to prevent “an invasion” of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.
• Detention Centre for Repatriation (DCR) controlled migration centers to house asylum seekers – no more integration. Migrants will be detained for up to 2 years as they await their cases to process.
• More detention facilities which includes offshoring migrants to Albania.
• Campaigns of deterrence in countries where African migrants among others hail from.
• Harsher penalties for illegal migrant traffickers such as boat drivers, smugglers. 10 to 20 years of imprisonment for serious cases.
By the end of 2023, her hard line policies had failed to curb illegal immigrants. 155,754 migrants reached the shores of Italy’s Island up from 103,846 in 2022. Over 20,000 migrants have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach South Europe.
The the heart of Meloni’s initiative is energy for European markets via natural gas from Africa and curtailing illegal immigration.
"More than 2,500 migrants died or went missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe so far in 2023.— Human Rights Solidarity (@SolidarityHR) September 29, 2023
Lives are also lost in land, away from public attention. "UN
These deaths are LITERALLY heart-wrenching and definitely preventable. Safe routes NOW! pic.twitter.com/TPbzKnc2sj
“By September 24, over 2,500 people were accounted as dead or missing in 2023 alone,” Ruven Menikdiwela, director of the UNHCR New York office, told the U.N. Security Council.Ruven Menikdiwela
Tunisia and Libya remain the main departure points from North Africa. The treacherous journey transversing from Sub-Saharan Africa via the Sahara desert presents life threatening challenges from gross human rights violations, to discrimination, from hunger and thirst to death.
IS LITTLE ITALY SO LITTLE?
The Italian economy is the eighth largest in the world and third largest in the European Union, with a GDP of $3.02 trillion and GNI of about $37,000 in 2023 (World Economics Research).
On the other hand, the entire African continent has a $3.01 trillion GDP economy and GNI of about $1,700 in 2023. This is simply tragic 😥.
Italy lacks the stamina heavyweights like the United States, China and European Union bring to bear. It has a record 3.1 trillion dollars public debt, the second highest in the Europe as a proportion of GDP behind economically challenged Greece. It could be bitting more than it can chew.
As evidenced in world news, no oceans, no seas, no rivers, no boundaries can shield thriving economies from crisis areas.
The pull and push factors in my opinion are far greater than any policies enacted to deter migrants. The world is a much smaller place. Corrupt and inept African governments, skewed trade practices, stashing of stolen resources in the West will not work anymore.
A prosperous and thriving Africa is in the interest of the world. As United States automobile markets reach a point of saturation, why wouldn’t Africa be the new market for a growing middle-class?
Wouldn’t it be in the interest of Europe for Africans to stay home and thrive because of fair trade practices? Let it be clear, Africans want to live in Africa, a continent of plenty, land of enchantment, excellent weather and the cradle of mankind.
What about dealing squarely with corrupt African leaders that embezzle public funds and stash them in the Western financial and real-estate markets?
Wouldn’t resources spent fighting insurgencies and terrorism be better invested in agricultural enterprises or in manufacturing industries where young Africans are be engaged in productive work? Where do you get the most bang for investments?
The new frontier is Africa and that is unstoppable. Investment managers would be elated to have more options for mutual funds. Why wouldn’t growing African markets where tremendous potential for growth and returns not be worth pursuing?
No amount of charitable endeavors and Western welfare programs on the continent can cure Africa’s economic challenges, none! Africans have the ability and capacity to transform the continent. All they want are real partners to work with.
I don’t think someone wakes up one day and decides to terrorize other people. Corrupt and failed governments are a catalyst for instability which eventually paves way to terrorism.
Islamic insurgents thrive where no meaningful government is in place to provide basic services such as education, public welfare, security among others to its constituents.
Scrupulous individuals take advantage of poverty-stricken people, some of who may be dejected and ripe to indoctrinate before unleashing them to the populations. Let us be proactive and not reactionary, let us be at the forefront of shaping the agenda and the rest will fall in place.
Africans cannot keep blaming African leaders for the continent’s woes. At sometime someone has to take responsibility for the impasse especially where elections are held.
Corrupt and inept African leaders come from within. How is it possible after years and years of elections we end up with the caliber of leaders we have? How 🤔?
Do Africans in general see the big picture? Divisions brought about by tribalism and religious antagonism are a huge impediment to the unity of purpose that is needed to transform the continent to a first world economy. No progress will come with divisions. Your divisions open you up to exploitation. United we stand, divided we fall.
Maybe on a positive note, Africans can borrow a leaf 🍃 from Zambians 🇿🇲 with the election of President Hakainde Hichilema, a breath of fresh air in Africa body politic, a self made business man, and a servant leader. He’s one of the new crop of leaders to watch.