Africa’s population is ballooning with each passing day. Experts say that the continent will see her population double in the next 30 years, beating all the other continents.
By 2050, it is projected that one in every four humans will be African as the continent doubles its population, accounting for more than half of global population growth according to stats released by Afrobarometer.
Even with a land mass greater than India, China, the United States, and Europe combined, and blessed with one-third of the earth’s mineral resources, Africa might not be able to provide the livelihood opportunities its people demand and need.
Despite significant economic growth in many African countries over the past two decades, a substantial number of Africans still see leaving their country to seek out a better future as their best option.
Willing to risk abuse and enslavement, death in the desert or at sea, and hardship upon arrival, African emigrants have placed themselves on front pages and political agendas around the world.
Although only 14 percent of the 258 million international migrants worldwide in 2017 were born in Africa – one-third the number of Asian-born migrants (United Nations, 2017) – sub-Saharan African nations account for eight of the 10 fastest-growing international migrant populations.
The number of emigrants from each of these Sub-Saharan countries grew by 50 percent or more between 2010 and 2017. At the country level, only Syria had a higher rate of growth in the number of citizens living in other countries.
Stats from Afrobarometer
On average across 34 countries, one in four Africans, (25 percent), say someone in their family has lived in another country during the past three years. About one in five, (21 percent), say they depend at least “a little bit” on remittances sent from abroad.
More than one in three Africans (37 percent) have considered emigrating, including 18 percent who have given this “a lot” of thought. A majority of citizens say they have thought at least “a little bit” about leaving Cabo Verde (57 percent), Sierra Leone (57 percent), the Gambia (56 percent), Togo (54 percent), and São Tomé and Príncipe (54 percent).
Among those who have considered emigrating (“potential emigrants”), on average one in 10 (9 percent) – or about 3 percent of the total population – say they are currently making preparations to move. These proportions are highest in Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
Young adults and highly educated citizens are most likely to consider leaving their country: Around half of each group say they have considered it at least “a little bit.”
In contrast, individuals’ experience of poverty does not have a large impact on their interest in emigrating, though it does significantly affect the reasons why they consider such a move.
The poorest are much more likely to see emigration as a means of escape from their hardships, while the wealthiest are more likely to cite diverse motivations such as education, adventure, and business opportunities.
Among potential emigrants, more than one-third would like to move to another country within their region (29 percent) or elsewhere in Africa (7 percent). This preference for staying on the continent is especially strong in Southern Africa (58 percent) and weakest in North Africa (8 percent).
Europe (27 percent) and North America (22 percent) are the most preferred destinations outside of Africa. In almost all countries, by far the most frequently cited reasons for emigrating are to look for work (44 percent on average) and to escape poverty and economic hardship (29 percent).
In line with widespread interest in intra-regional migration and the pursuit of economic opportunity, a majority (56 percent) of Africans think people should be able to move freely across international borders within their region. But the same proportion (56 percent) say they find it difficult to cross borders to work or trade-in another country.