Infrastructure and Migration: Prevention vs. Reaction

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Through investment in infrastructure across Africa and the Middle East, many of the issues driving migrants to flee their home countries could begin to be resolved, says the African Development Bank (ADB).

In what has been coined the worst migration crisis in Europe since the end of the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have flocked to Europe in seek of help. In 2014, roughly 170,000 migrants landed on Italian shores alone. With the rise of movement, there has been a sharp and tragic increase in migrant deaths.

The staggering numbers hold deep significance; migrants are landing on the shores of some of Europe’s most financially strained countries. The question that must be asked is: How can we address this in such a way that we are not dealing with the consequences of the migrant crisis but rather preventing the occurrence of the crisis in the first place?

Through investment in infrastructure, many of the issues driving the migrants to flee their home countries could begin to be resolved. By opening investment projects in both the Middle East and Africa, the need for wage-workers will increase. While this is certainly not a fix-all solution, it is a good start. Because when there are no economic opportunities at home, the risk of losing one’s life on the journey to Europe becomes worth it.

“By promoting infrastructure initiatives on the African continent, we can begin to address the roots of poverty, thus commencing the long journey to wide-scale social and economic improvements across African countries. The construction, maintenance, and development of large-scale projects require a vast number of staff. But how can we ensure that investment will produce beneficial results? This is where we turn to public private partnership (PPP) and build, operate, and transfer (BOT) models,” said ADB.

PPP projects require thoughtful and comprehensive collaboration between the government of a country and one or more private entities. Such an agreement requires that governments work transparently and accountably to ensure that the private investors receive a high return on investment. It is vital to note that an advanced infrastructure development program will ease migration issue.

“Although PPP-based infrastructure development will begin to solve the economic crisis throughout Africa, we also recognise that this is unfamiliar territory for many investors. African markets have a notoriously bad reputation, thus discouraging investments; however, lack of such investment may worsen the situation,” it added.

In October, AFIDEP will hold a global convention in Zurich, Switzerland to address the issue head-on. Speakers from around the world, including delegates from the African Development Bank, will come to make a case for PPP based development in sub-Saharan Africa and the world at large. The conference invites investors, project owners, industry experts, and government officials to meet in one unified location.

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