Japa: ECOWAS Aims To Curb Irregular Migration Of African Youths

Japa: ECOWAS Aims To Curb Irregular Migration Of African Youths

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament on Wednesday expressed concern over the irregular migration of youths from the region seeking better opportunities in Europe and other developed countries.

During the 2024 First Ordinary Session of the Parliament in Abuja, ECOWAS Parliament Speaker, Memounatou Ibrahima addressed the issue, emphasizing the need for strategies to stop this dangerous trend.

Ibrahima highlighted that many youths emigrate through illegal means, risking their lives.

She called on Members of Parliament to propose investments in the skills and capacities of West African youth to harness their potential for the region’s development.

This exodus of skilled youths, commonly referred to as the ‘Japa Syndrome’ in Nigeria, has led to a significant loss of talent to Europe and other developed nations.

Ibrahima’s comments followed a presentation by Teresa Boteli, Policy and Liaison Officer for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), during the plenary session.

Boteli discussed the perilous journeys African youths undertake to reach Europe and North America, exposing them to human trafficking, exploitation, and death. In 2023 alone, an estimated 5,000 migrant deaths were recorded.

While acknowledging that migrants contribute to cultural exchange and diversity, Boteli noted that they also face significant challenges such as integration issues, discrimination, and legal obstacles in their host countries.

The IOM report from 2023 estimated that around 300,000 West African migrants annually embark on dangerous routes through the Sahara Desert and across the Mediterranean Sea.

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