Libmonster ID: U.S.-1288


Doctor of Economics


Doctor of Economics

Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences

population Keywords:, cross-border migration, Arab revolutions, labor resources, European Union, Africa, migration policy

In addition to inter-continental migration, the movement of migrants within the African continent itself plays a significant role in migration flows. Intercountry African labor migration is usually carried out between countries with different levels of economic development. From countries with particularly difficult socio-economic conditions, migrants are sent to more prosperous countries in search of work and a better life. Each sub-region has one or more countries with relatively strong economies that attract workers from neighboring, less developed countries.


The main flows of African cross-country migration are from inland to coastal countries and from countries without significant raw material resources to countries with such resources. This "rule", however, has quite a few exceptions. For example, until recently, mainland Zimbabwe had a strong attraction for migrants from neighboring countries, such as the highly productive agriculture of the descendants of white settlers; Algeria exports not only energy, but also - in significant quantities-labor.

The ratio of sending and receiving countries is clearly dominated by the former. Among the largest exporters of migrants are Algeria, Angola, Benin, Ghana, DRC, Egypt, Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, Swaziland, Senegal, Somalia, and Tunisia (the Arab countries in this list "supply" migrants mainly outside the continent).

The main poles of attraction for labor migration are the countries exporting hydrocarbon and mineral raw materials-Libya (before the famous events), Gabon, Congo (Kinshasa), Congo (Brazzaville), Zambia, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Botswana, as well as (to a lesser extent) countries with a relatively developed agricultural sector - Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania.

Hundreds of thousands of seasonal migrants from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon are sent annually to Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia and Ghana during the harvest of coffee, cocoa, peanuts, sorghum, etc. A major migration center is Nigeria, which acts as both a receiving and sending country. In some cases, migration flows go simultaneously in opposite directions (migrations between Sudan and Ethiopia, Ethiopia and Somalia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, etc.).


Along with South Africa and, in recent years, Botswana, a major center of attraction for African migrants has been and remains Libya, which attracts our special attention in connection with recent events in this country. The specific feature of Libya is a relatively small, by Arab standards, population, which does not exceed 6.5 million people, which causes a shortage of national labor to meet the needs of a rapidly developing economy. The working-age population of Libya was: in 1964 - 400 thousand people, in 1981 - 871 thousand, in 1991-about 1 million, in 2010-1.3 million 1.

Historically, the first migrants arrived in Libya in the 1960s, when the country's richest hydrocarbon reserves were discovered. The influx of petrodollars allowed Gaddafi to implement a number of ambitious projects-

Ending. For the beginning, see: Asia and Africa Today, 2012, No. 6.

page 10
There were no specific projects that required human resources to implement. The Libyan authorities strongly encouraged labor migration, primarily from neighboring countries-Egypt and Tunisia, to a lesser extent-from other African countries.

The decline in the flow of petrodollars after 1982 and the deterioration of the international situation around Libya in the 1990s, especially after the UN Security Council adopted sanctions in connection with the bombing of the Pan-American plane over the Scottish city of Lockerbie, which was blamed on Libyan citizens, led to the fact that the Arab colony in the Jamahiriya began to melt quickly. Under these circumstances, the Libyan authorities have adopted an open-door policy towards migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, whose number in Libya increased to 1 million in the 1990s. 2 Since 2001, African migrant workers, including low-skilled workers, have been given free access to such industries as agriculture, construction and services (mostly cleaning of streets and premises).

After the suspension of sanctions in 1999, the influx of migrants from Arab States to Libya resumed. Until recently, Libya ranked first among African countries in terms of the number of immigrants. On the eve of the events of spring 2011, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2.5 million people lived in it. immigrants (25-30% of the total population), including 1 million Egyptians, 90 thousand Tunisians, 80 thousand Pakistanis, 63 thousand There are 59,000 Sudanese, 30,000 Algerians, the same number of Chinese, 26,000 Filipinos, more than 10,000 Vietnamese and almost a million immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly from Niger, Chad, Mali, Nigeria and Ghana. The largest diasporas in Libya are Egyptian and Tunisian. At the same time, of the 1 million Egyptians who were in Libya, only 332 thousand worked officially. 56% of Egyptians were in the country without a valid visa, and 8% - without the right to work. The main areas where immigrants from Egypt worked were construction, agriculture and education. Tunisians were mainly employed in industry and services.3
Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are mainly engaged in low-skilled work in agriculture, construction and service industries. The share of foreign labor among all employed in Libya before the events of 2011 exceeded 70%. Immigration from neighboring African countries was often linked to an increase in crime and the spread of drugs, with the problem of competition for local labor, and with difficulties in controlling illegal immigration to Europe through Libya. The latter was particularly relevant, as illegal immigrants traveling to Europe often stayed in Libya for a long time.

In the 2000s, Gaddafi's migration policy gradually moved away from" pan-Africanism " towards restricting immigration in order to free up jobs for his own citizens. This was due to the high level of unemployment among the indigenous population (up to 30% of the total number of able-bodied people), as well as an increase in government spending on the maintenance of immigrants. Tripoli has aggressively sought to reduce the number of immigrants, especially those working without officially registered contracts. This policy of the Libyan leadership has yielded results: in the period from 2001 to 2010. the number of employed Libyans increased by 17.6%, while the number of foreign workers decreased significantly.4
At the same time, Gaddafi has consistently demonstrated his willingness to cooperate with the European Union in the field of migration policy. It has taken steps to reduce the influx of illegal immigrants to Europe. In 2007, Libya introduced mandatory visas for incoming migrants from both Arab and other African countries. Migrants have lost free access to health care and education. In 2000, Libya signed an agreement with Italy on the readmission (return of illegal migrants to the non-EU country from which they arrived) of illegal migrants, and in 2003, 2007 and 2008 - bilateral agreements on cooperation in the fight against illegal migration with Italy and France. willingness to cooperate with the EU to develop mutually beneficial migration policy principles and establish special camps for displaced persons on the territory of Libya, and has also ratified a number of international agreements to combat illegal migration, including the Palermo Protocol of 15 November 2000 on punishments for trafficking in human beings.5
In other words, Libya has long played a very important role in the migration sphere as the largest recipient country of African South-South migration and, at the same time, as a kind of migration buffer between Europe and Africa.


Apart from Libya, almost all North African States are both transit territories and source countries for illegal immigration to Europe.

The main countries receiving illegal immigrants are Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and the Netherlands. The transparency of the borders between the Maghreb countries and the proximity of Spain to Morocco and Tunisia to Italy contribute to an increase in uncontrolled migration in the Mediterranean region. Unemployment, economic and social problems in North Africa, civil wars, ethnic and religious conflicts-

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Figure 1. Main directions of transit migration from Africa.

Источник: International Organization for Migration (2007) World Migration 2006; Managing Migration, Challenges and Responses for People on the Move. IOM.

you, poverty-these are the factors that play a major role for many in deciding to risk their lives to reach Europe.

Until February 2011, Libya remained one of the most important transit countries for African illegal immigrants. This was due to the possibility of fairly free crossing of its borders with other African states (borders in southern Libya, in desert areas, are particularly difficult to control). For a long time, the main transit point for migrants was the Libyan town of Al-Jawf, and the main centers for the transfer of illegal immigrants to Europe were located in the ports of Tripolitania. As a rule, migrants tried to illegally enter the territory of Italy, using the island of Malta as a transit territory.

Tunisia also served as a transit country for illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. This country has an extensive port system and is located close to Italy: the southernmost Italian island of Lampedusa is only 113 km away.

The main centers for organizing illegal immigration in Tunisia are the cities of Nabul, Sousse, Monastir, Mahdia, Sfax and Medenin. Transfer points for illegal immigrants are located along the entire coast of the country. From Tunisian ports, illegal immigrants primarily seek to reach the southern coast of Sicily or the islands of Pantelleria, Lampedusa, Linosa. Among migrants, the route from the coast near the port of Mahdia to the island of Lampedusa is particularly "popular", from where you can get to Malta, and from there to Sicily. 6
Along with Libya and Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt also act as important transit territories and sources of illegal migration. Thousands of Egyptians, mostly young people, try to enter Europe illegally every year7. Some use the coast of Egypt, resorting to the services of smugglers, but most move first to Libya or Tunisia, and only then to Italy. The Suez Canal is used by migrants from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Europe. Refugees from Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia come to Egypt hoping to enter European territory.

In Algeria, migrants cross the Sahara (most often served as transit cities of Tamanrasset in the south and Magnia in the north of the country) and move to Morocco (the main transit city is Uja). The majority of illegal immigrants are citizens of Nigeria and Cameroon. On this route, migrants are usually transported across the desert by truck.8
Along with traditional strs-

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Table 1

Distribution of illegal migrants in Morocco by country of origin (%)








Ivory Coast


Guinea (Conakry)












Sierra Leone




Source: AMERM-Afvic Study (2007), with EU support. Undocumened Migration Counting the Uncountable. Data and Trends across Europe. Rabat, 2008, p. 21.

More sophisticated routes are often used to prevent African illegal immigrants from entering Europe. One of the reasons for the increase in illegal movement of people is the widespread use of the Internet to advertise employment in the West, and a link to the Internet sometimes helps to cross the border. Fictitious marriage with citizens of the country of immigration remains a common way of entering European countries. In recent years, the number of foreigners using unofficial channels of border crossing without documents or using forged documents, which are obtained by organizations specializing in such services, has been growing. Firms involved in the illegal transportation of foreigners across the border and their illegal employment are primarily used by economic migrants and refugees who have no chance of legal entry. The fee for illegal immigration ranges from several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the destination country, the distance of the route and the duration of the trip. In recent years, business on illegal immigration is experiencing a real boom. Every year, transnational criminal groups illegally export about 1 million rubles. illegal immigrants. The UN estimates that the global revenue from human smuggling is $5-7 billion. in year 9.

A specific feature of modern migration is an increase in the share of women (up to 47.5%) and children in the illegal migration flow. In the last 2-3 years, illegal migration of pregnant African women, counting on the humane feelings of Europeans, has become quite popular. Illegal movement of women, girls and children for sexual exploitation is not uncommon. Experts estimate that between 700,000 and 4 million people enter the global intimate services market every year10. There are no more accurate statistics due to imperfect migration controls.

In 2008, the Moroccan Interior Ministry, together with EU experts, conducted a special survey aimed at identifying the main countries of origin of illegal migrants who use Morocco as a territory for further entry into European countries. Data from this survey are shown in table 1. It is very significant that 40% of these illegal immigrants come from three African States: Nigeria, Mali and Senegal11.

Illegal migrant flows from Ivory Coast, Guinea and Cameroon are also quite intense. At the same time, most of these migrants use the territory of Morocco mainly as a transit area, trying to move further - to Spain, Italy or Malta. These countries often also turn out to be only an intermediate point for illegal migrants to travel to more prosperous EU states-France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Some lucky people get to Scandinavia, where the migration policy is still quite loyal.


In negotiations with African states, the EU countries have always linked the granting of any preferences to them with the assumption of obligations on the readmission of migrants. Spain has signed readmission agreements with Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Nigeria, while Italy has signed readmission agreements with Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Nigeria. In general, the countries of Southern Europe are striving for a more stringent migration policy. However, their efforts are met with opposition from more remote States, such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Currently, about 80% of European residents are in favor of strengthening control at the EU's external borders; however, 56% are not against the targeted invitation of foreign workers and specialists.12
What are the main directions of combating illegal migration in Europe? First, it is the introduction of stricter legislation and legal norms governing the entry and stay of immigrants, including the unification of visa standards and deadlines for obtaining refugee status. A number of European states, in an effort to reduce the illegal influx of immigrants, including under the guise of refugees, have tightened the laws governing the latter's obtaining official status. The most significant changes have taken place in Germany, where the automatic right for all foreigners to obtain asylum is excluded by law. Similar changes in the legislation of other European countries have led to a reduction in the number of applicants for refugee status.

Secondly, it provides for strengthening control at common borders and conducting joint barrage operations.

page 13
Table 2

Migration from Libya between February 20, 2011 and May 26, 2011

Country of receiving migrants

National composition of migrants




Other Egyptians








Other Algerians




Other Nigerians






















Source: KARIM-Migration Profile. Libya. June 2011 -

along the borders, the creation of a common consular system and a unified border guard service that allows you to protect checkpoints on highways, airports, sea and railway stations. To simplify control over the stay and movement of foreigners, it is planned to create a common bank of entry visas in the near future and prepare lists of countries whose citizens must have visas to enter the territory of the European Union or use the visa-free travel regime. The policy-making programme for the joint border management of EU States also includes the development of a common set of laws on the procedure for crossing external borders and the preparation of relevant practical guidelines for border services.

The new plan to combat illegal immigration includes the organization of a joint coastal patrol police force, which should better protect the rather long coastal borders of countries such as Italy and Spain. More attention will be paid to strengthening borders in mountainous and forested areas. Some EU states are even partially restoring their internal borders.

In general, it can be said that by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the EU and North African countries managed to develop and adopt a compromise plan for pursuing a common course to counter illegal immigration.

However, the events of the "Arab Spring" significantly aggravated the migration situation both in Africa and in Europe.


The revolution in Tunisia served as the first impetus for the activation of migration flows. Taking advantage of the confusion in the country and the weakening of border controls by the Tunisian authorities, 25 thousand Tunisians immediately landed on the small Italian island of Lampedusa. The ultimate target of Tunisian migrants was not Italy, but France, which, fearing an influx of even more North Africans, proposed to strengthen border controls between European countries, which called into question the existing Schengen agreements.

But the main events were still ahead. The armed conflict in Libya has become the main cause of mass displacement on the African continent. In addition to the military actions and political and economic instability, the situation is aggravated by the fact that the opposition who came to power declared black Africans "Gaddafi mercenaries" and in every possible way fueled xenophobic sentiments among their supporters. As a result, attacks, violence and even murder of Africans are constantly recorded in Libya. Many of them do not leave their homes for weeks, fearing attacks. For example, a group of 30 Somalis in Tripoli did not leave their homes for 12 days. One of the group went to get help, but never returned. A group of Eritreans traveling from Tripoli to the Tunisian border were stopped more than 20 times and eventually robbed. A thirty-year-old Nigerian electrician was thrown out of his workshop in Benghazi with the words "You are an accomplice of Gaddafi and you will be killed!" Ghanaian construction workers were also labeled "Gaddafi mercenaries" and their photos were posted on social media with the corresponding caption. In Tripoli and Benghazi, mass rapes of black African women were recorded 13. Therefore, migrants leave the country in a hurry.

From the beginning of the conflict in February 2011 to November 2011, more than 850 thousand people left Libya.14 Reliable statistics, co-

page 14
The Torah we have is from an earlier period - May 2011. By this time, 531439 people had left the country. Most of them went to neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, but also to Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Italy and Malta.

Table 2 shows that the majority of migrants from Libya moved to Tunisia (43.8%) and Egypt (32.4%); to a lesser extent, to Niger (13.1%) and Chad (5.1%). At the same time, more than 70% of the refugees are black Africans. In total, less than 3% of migrants have moved to Europe. Transit routes for Africans moving to European countries in 2011 shifted towards Morocco, which is home to two Spanish enclaves - Ceuta and Melilla.


It is obvious that both European governments and international organizations of the European and world level will do everything possible to prevent the influx of people from states affected by revolutions. Already, many of them have focused their efforts on organizing assistance to migrants in Libya, as well as on transporting them to their countries of origin. This is what the Europeans see as a way out of the current situation. The xenophobic sentiments of the new Libyan authorities are forcing Africans to quickly return home or flee to neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. But not everyone succeeds.

The Egyptian and Tunisian authorities supported their citizens and managed to organize their return to their homeland. However, this return in the face of rising unemployment and economic instability only reinforces the already acute contradictions in the labor market of these countries. What can we say about the black Africans who come to Tunisia and Egypt by the tens of thousands? It is unlikely that they will be given a friendly welcome there. The same can be said for sub-Saharan countries that are economically and socially unprepared for the return of their citizens who worked in Libya in recent years. At the same time, an important source of foreign exchange earnings for African labour donor States has disappeared. After all, African migrant remittances from Libya exceeded $5-6 billion annually.15
In other words, the migration situation in the region with the loss of the largest African labor market in the face of the Libyan Jamahiriya and with the growth of political and economic instability in neighboring Arab States will constantly worsen.

As for the Europeans, they will certainly make every effort to prevent an additional influx of African immigrants using political, institutional, and possibly military levers.

In any case, African migration flows on a global scale are highly likely to shift to the east and south.

The European Union, apparently, needs a new migration concept. Although the policy of sharply limiting migration does not meet either the economic or demographic situation in Europe and other developed countries. Instead of trying to prevent immigration, as is currently being done, it is necessary, on the one hand, to control it in accordance with the needs of host countries for labor resources, encouraging labor and limiting illegal migration, and on the other, to influence the causes that give rise to the mass exodus of Africans from their own countries.

In February 1994, in his well-known work "Approaching Anarchy", a well-known economist, professor at Harvard Business School (USA), Robert Kaplan predicted a global crisis as a result of the disintegration of states in the West African region, which would lead to a powerful "immigration outburst". Migrants from Africa, he wrote, will try to reach the prosperous states of the Maghreb and Europe. 16 Now these predictions are coming true. Moreover, the demographic explosion on the African continent is accompanied today by political and economic destabilization in the relatively prosperous North African sub-region and mass emigration of the population from Libya.

* * *

Solutions to the problems associated with migration can be found only when the economic and social development of African countries resumes, which is impossible without the joint efforts of African States and the entire world community. States in the region experiencing an internal crisis do not need short-term programs designed to produce immediate positive results, but real assistance that is long-term and comprehensive.


2 CARIM - Migration Profile. Libya. June 2011 -

3 Ibidem.


5 CARIM - Migration Profile. Libya...

Hassen Boubakri. 6 Transit migration between Tunisia, Libya and Sub-Saharan Africa: study based on Greater Tunis, 2004, Council of Europe -

7 Egyptians risking all to enter Europe // BBC. 2.07.2007.

David van Moppes. 8 The African Migration Movement: Routes to Europe // The Hague. 2006, p. 10 - 11.

9 International Migration Report 2006: A Global Assessment. United Nations. N. Y., 2009, p. 24.

10 Ibid., p. 5.

11 For more information, see: Abramova I. O., Fituni L. L., Sapuntsov A. L. "Emerging" and "failed" states in the World economy and Politics, Moscow, 2007.







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