2019 Africa’s youth: jobs or migration?

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

The 2019 Forum discussions were dedicated to African migrations.

Migration, whether referring to economic migrants or refugees, is currently triggering emotional and political reactions, especially outside the continent, that often are fragmented or overlook the real dynamics. Hence the interest of an African-led, fact-based, frank and open discussion, de-linked from any partisan agenda.

Ahead of each Forum, the Foundation produces the Ibrahim Forum Report, which compiles the most relevant and recent data and insights on the selected topic. With facts and figures on migrations, youth, mobility and jobs in Africa, the Report provides an evidence-based picture on the reality on the continent and presents the African perspective on these topics.

Download the 2019 Forum Report

Watch Mo’s thoughts on the Forum Report

Contrary to common perceptions, African migrations are mainly internal and driven by economic prospects rather than just conflict or climate hazards. These flows are fuelled by lacking sustainable economic opportunities and employment prospects, in the only continent left where youth, already the overwhelming majority of the population, is still expanding.

In a century shaped by globalisation and growing transport and communications infrastructure, both formal and informal, migrations cannot be prevented, but must be better managed. Migrations have occurred over centuries, drive demographic dynamics and are part of the shaping of many strong nations. In light of this, the continental mobility agenda should be reinforced to allow free movement, trade and businesses expansion, and ultimately make Africa one undivided space of prosperity for its youth.

The Forum discussions look at avenues to strengthen the capacity of the continent to assess its specific needs and define owned solutions, with a view to making the most of its best potential: human capital. Along with policies to update skills, in order to equip the working age population for the expected job market changes, and to strengthen mobility within the continent, mitigation policies should also make sure that no one is left behind.

The discussion was organised around these sessions: