How to Create Refugees

BERLIN/DAKAR/ACCRA/ABUJA (Own report) - A central theme of Chancellor Angela Merkel's tour of African countries, which began yesterday, will be the expansion of the EU's defense against refugees. As government circles confirmed, following Merkel's talks yesterday in Senegal, she will also negotiate today in Ghana and tomorrow in Nigeria, steps for stopping people fleeing poverty, hopelessness and war and facilitate the deportation of refugees from Germany. In opinion polls, nearly half of the Senegalese, and around three-fourths of the Ghanaian and Nigerian respondents, signaled their wish to leave their country, because of dire poverty and a dramatically high youth unemployment rate. European companies are systematically destroying African jobs, for example, by overfishing the Senegalese coastline, thereby heavily damaging Senegal's fishery sector or by the EU's poultry dumping in Ghana, ruining the domestic poultry industry. Merkel does not intend to address these EU practices causing people to flee their countries.

Willing to Emigrate

All three countries on Chancellor Angela Merkel's Africa tour, are characterized by an extraordinarily high portion of the population willing to emigrate. The Pew Research Center in Washington reported in the spring that in a survey in several sub-Saharan countries in Senegal 46% of the respondents would like to migrate if the means and opportunity presented themselves, in Ghana, 75% and in Nigeria 74%. 44% in Senegal, 42% in Ghana and 38% in Nigeria expressed more than simply a general willingness to migrate, but have actual plans to move to another country in the next five years. That this is more than idle talk, can be seen, according to the Pew Research Center, in the fact that in 2015 1.7 million Ghanaians (or 6% of Ghana's population) applied for a special US visa program permitting 50,000 people worldwide to move each year to the US. Other sub-Saharan African countries saw high shares of their populations apply for the visas as well.[1]

Syria, Iraq, Nigeria

Europe is not the primary emigration destination for Africans, nor is Germany the preferred destination within the EU. According to the Pew Research Center, of Ghanaians who say they plan to migrate abroad, 41% identify the U.S. as their intended destination, while only 30% name a country in the EU. The opposite is the trend in Senegal, a francophone country. By far, the greatest concentration of Sub-Saharan immigrants is in the UK (1.27 million), followed by France (980,000), Italy (370,000) and, because of the linguistic affinity with its former colonies, Portugal (360,000). The number of sub-Saharan immigrants in Germany is also growing, although at a much lower level. Asylum applications can serve as a good indicator, even though the vast majority are rejected. According to the statistics of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), whereas there had been annually less than a thousand Nigerian asylum applicants in 2010, they now have reached 6,648 first instance applicants from January to July 2018 - just behind Syrians and Iraqis.

Lack of Perspective

The reasons behind the high degree of migration willingness are obvious in the three countries on Chancellor Merkel's visiting list. In Senegal, youth unemployment is officially set at 40 percent. In reality, as confirmed by the Dakar branch office of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation the amount is "considerably higher." Therefore, a large number of young Senegalese feel forced to emigrate, observes the foundation, although "more than 60 percent" of them emigrate to other West African countries. Only a minority, undertake the dangerous route to the EU.[2] Ghana is not much better off. Official statistics have youth unemployment at 25.9 percent.[3] According to observers the rate is much higher. In Nigeria, youth unemployment is officially estimated at 33.1 percent.[4] In addition, the counter insurgency operations against jihadi forces - particularly Boko Haram and the IS - is forcing many to flee, particularly in the north of the country. All three countries are also poverty stricken - in certain cases, with extreme poverty - promising only miserable prospects of development and no income at home.

Fished Clean

Germany is anything but innocent of the fact that Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria have never been able to shake off the orientation imposed on their economies by the colonialists, with its structurally embedded poverty. From Berlin's point of view, trade with Senegal, ranking only 118 on the list of customers of German industrial products, is negligible. For Dakar, however, the trade deficit with Germany is disastrous. Because the country has hardly any raw materials that interest Germany, its €100 million deficit in 2017 reached more than 0,7 percent of the Senegal's GNP. Senegal's debts increase with the scale of the steady outflow of money and thereby, hinder every independent development. It has been known for years that EU fishing fleets have fished Senegal's coastal waters, once rich with fish, clean. As a result, a growing number of jobs have been lost in the fishing industry, which accounts for one sixth on the Senegalese job market.[5] Berlin reacts by warding off refugees. In the framework of the so-called development aid, the state-owned German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) is not only promoting "border management," but also a program entitled "Réussir au Sénégal" (Succeed in Senegal), aimed at keeping young people from leaving the country. Last January, the German Ministry for Development inaugurated a "Migration Advisory Center" in Dakar that teaches "the dangers of unregulated migration," i.e. prevent unwanted migration to the EU.[6] Berlin is also claiming that the Center informs of "job opportunities" in Senegal - with its 40 percent youth unemployment.

Poultry Dumping

The situation is similar in Ghana. Germany and the EU are most notorious for contributing to Ghana's rising unemployment with their poultry dumping in the millions of euros. In the 1990s, Ghana had been domestically able to satisfy the country's poultry consumption needs. By the early 2000s, the domestic poultry sector had collapsed, because it could not compete with the cheap poultry imports from the large EU slaughterhouses, particularly those in Germany. Already in 2003, Ghanaian slaughterhouses were operating only at 25 percent capacity. Already five years ago, experts were estimating that Ghana had lost at least 100,000 jobs through EU imports.[7] EU enterprises had already exported 40,000 tons of poultry to Ghana in 2010, and have increased their exports steadily - last year by 75 percent, to reach 135,320 tons.[8] Years ago, Berlin had declared Ghana a safe country, to justify immediate rejection of asylum applications of Ghanaian migrants fleeing the country's unemployment and poverty,. Last December, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier inaugurated a "Migration Advisory Center" in Accra, aimed - like its counterpart in Senegal - at deterring Ghanaians from heading for the EU.[9]

Speedier Deportations

Yesterday in Dakar, Chancellor Merkel discussed ways of optimizing defense against refugees. She will hold similar talks in Ghana's capital Accra today, and in Nigeria's capital Abuja tomorrow, as was confirmed by government circles. Recently, Nigeria's Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama reported that Jan Hecker, the chancellor's foreign policy migration specialist advisor, had met with him to discuss possibilities for speeding up deportations to Nigeria. Onyeama explained that according to the German official, up to 30,000 Nigerians could not be deported, because the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin was not cooperating fast enough. Hecker proposed that German authorities could issue substitutes for Nigerian travel documents, to effect the deportations, Onyeama said. If non-Nigerians erroneously were deported to Nigeria, Berlin would be ready to take them back. Nigeria's foreign minister declared, he did not accept the deal.[10] The issue could play a role in Merkel's visit tomorrow in Abuja.


[1] Phillip Connor: At Least a Million Sub-Saharan Africans Moved to Europe Since 2010. 22.03.2018.

[2] Thomas Volk: Migrationspartnerschaft - Erwartungen und Realitäten im Senegal. 29.05.2018.

[3] Tackling Ghana's youth unemployment. 26.11.2017.

[4] Wesley Dockery: Nigerians leave home due to war, poor economy. 28.08.2018.

[5] Jenny Marrenbach: Wie Fischfang Migration auslöst. 11.06.2018.

[6] Deutschland und Senegal eröffnen Migrationsberatungszentrum in Dakar. 23.01.2018.

[7] See also Mordsgeschäfte (IV).

[8] Rekorderlös für EU-Fleischexporteure. 05.03.2018.

[9] Deutschland und Ghana eröffnen Migrationsberatungszentrum in Accra. 13.12.2017.

[10] Ubale Musa: Germany proposes plan to repatriate 30,000 Nigerians. 17.05.2018.