This week saw the marking of the International Youth Day. It was instituted to help raise awareness of what the youth are going through in this day and age. The theme of this year’s day was Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward and as a result special attention was paid to migration and whether it actually brings about development.
Young people make up a significant share of the global number of international migrants. In 2010, there were an estimated 27 million international young migrants. Africa has seen a lot of youth move across borders to search for a better life in the developed world. Sometimes risking all they have, their lives and families to sail by boat for months on end just to make it to a better place. 13,424 illegal immigrants reached the coast of the Canary Islands, Spain in 2008 compared to 18,000 recorded in 2007. All these are believed to be from North Africa. The percentages have gone down somewhat in the recent past. Frontex reports a 3% decrease in the number of irregular migrants arriving by boat in Spain over the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011: 2,637 in 2011 versus 2,559 in 2012. These are still high numbers though.
According to the article "Youth in East Africa: Infinite possibility or definite disaster?" written by Katindi Sivi Njonjo one of our guest editors, demographically, nearly all of Sub-Saharan Africa has a child rich population, majority of who are below the age of 15. Two thirds or more are young people under the age of 30, and only three to six percent of the population is above the age of 60. Most migrants from Sub-saharan Africa go to cities as young adults to look for employment and other opportunities. This is not the same as international migration but more of an internal migration within the countries. A bulging youth increases the rate of rural to urban migration in the region.
If the development transformation necessary to support urban growth is not occurring at the same speed as the migration rate, the region will witness a faster increase of informal settlements and the challenges that come with slum dwellings.
Do you think that migration policies are an answer to what the future of youth will be? Or do you think that it is more to do with the development transformation?