The African continent could prevent its jobless people from flocking to Europe and avoid more migrant deaths if it could aggressively invest in infrastructure and fight the roots of poverty.
This is the view of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is reacting after crisis-hit Europe is struggling to contain the flow of thousands of African and Middle East migrants.
More than 170 000 African migrants are believed to have reached the shores of Italy this year, and more than 3 million Syrians have fled their homes to escape the war between the army of Bashar al-Assad and a dozen of armed rebel groups, including the Islamic State.
“Through investment in infrastructure, many of the issues driving the migrants to flee their home countries could begin to be resolved,” Tunis-based AfDB said in a statement this week.
“By opening investment projects in both the Middle East and Africa, the need for wage-workers will increase.
“While this is certainly not a fix-all solution, it is a good start. Because when there are no economic opportunities at home, the risk of losing one’s life on the journey to Europe becomes worth it.”
The development institution said promoting infrastructure initiatives in the African continent would begin to address the roots of poverty, thus commencing the long journey to wide-scale social and economic improvements across African countries.
“The construction, maintenance, and development of large-scale projects require a vast number of staff. But how can we ensure that investment will produce beneficial results? This is where we turn to public private partnership (PPP) and build, operate, and transfer (BOT) models.”
Although PPP-based infrastructure development will begin to solve the economic crisis throughout Africa, while recognising that this is unfamiliar territory for many investors.
“African markets have a notoriously bad reputation, thus discouraging investments; however, lack of such investment may worsen the situation.”
It is in this spirit that AfDB, in association with AFIDEP (https://www.afidep.com), will in October hold a global convention in Zurich, Switzerland to address this. Speakers from around the world, including AfDB delegates, will come to make a case for PPP-based development in Sub-Saharan Africa and the world at large.
The conference invites investors, project owners, industry experts, and government officials to meet in one unified location.