President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented the mass migration of youths and is seeking partnership with European countries to halt the trend.
Buhari, who is Brussels, Belgium for the 6th EU-AFRICA, made the comment in an article published about the meeting.
“By 2050, Africa’s population of 1.3 billion is set to double, making up a quarter of the world’s total. My country, Nigeria, is set to double its population to 400 million by then, surpassing the United States to become the third-largest nation in the world.
“This means a huge youthful market right on Europe’s doorstep and — with increased trade — a growing middle class with money to spend,” Buhari said in the article published on the Politico, an online/offline magazine on Thursday.
“However, despite burgeoning possibility, irregular northward migration from my continent drains Africa’s talent pool, while provoking political crises in the EU. Despite its best efforts, Europe will not find a sustainable remedy to this problem by further reinforcing its Fortress Europe approach.
“Instead, more opportunities must be created for Africans at home, providing alternatives to the decision to take a life-threatening boat journey in order to seek them elsewhere. The relationship between the EU and Africa must be rebalanced to power job creation. Unfortunately, today’s arrangements do just the opposite.”
While explaining why Nigeria did not sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with Europe, he noted that agricultural subsidies in Europe are major blows to farmers on the continent. According to him, Africa is flooded with “artificially depreciated produce”, thus affecting competition.
“For instance, subsidy-driven surpluses of European milk are powdered and sent to Africa, decimating its dairy industry,” he said.
“It is a similar story when it comes to wheat and poultry production. Despite having the most underutilised arable land in the world, Africa remains a net food importer.”
The Nigerian leader noted that over €50 billion is pushed into markets in Europe to help them produce cheaper food. This, he explained, keeps Africa at the losing end.
“With its main export market distorted against them, African countries are deprived of foreign exchange, and investment in agriculture is stifled,” Buhari said.