Migration, in its simpler human definition, is the movement of persons from one place to another. As of 2015, the global population of human migrants according to UNFPA was 244 million, which is 3.3 per cent of world population. The push and pull factors identified were: family, natural disaster, education, conflict and economic opportunities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF stated that the number of migrants doubled since 1990 to reach about 20 million in 2013. Two root causes discovered were conflict and pursuit for economic opportunities. However, various migration studies showed that over the years, there were fewer conflict migrants and greater economic migrants from Africa. In statistics, UNHCR 2011 official data of International migrants from Africa put refugee (conflict) migrants at 14 per cent and economic migrants at 86 per cent.

[Editors note] In recent weeks we have heard of horrific stories coming out of Libya regarding the trade in slaves of many of these migrants, who are destined never to make it to their wished destinations, and it seems maybe not even back home. There sad journey need not have happened, if they were confident that prosperity was possible in their own lands.

The root causes of migration in Nigeria mirrored to that of Sub-Saharan Africa – internal conflict, leading to 2,152,000 Internally Displaced Persons, (with 85 per cent caused by Boko Haram) and pursuit of economic opportunities. There is no official data for Nigeria`s economic migrants. However, because of her huge population, youth unemployment rate (25.20 per cent), various EU`s Mediterranean sea crossing statistics, African migration statistics to America, and South Africa’s periodic Immigrant reports, one can deduce that there are more economic migrants from Nigeria than other African countries.

Migrants saved in the Mediterranean

Like most African countries, Nigeria is a mono economy, heavily dependent on the sale of crude oil and does not strive to add additional value to its abundant natural resources. Young people with an estimate population of 91 million (Bloomberg, 2016), that constitute a large demographic of economic migrants, are under-represented, while general citizen participation in the governance process is low with grassroots development needs heavily ignored.

Thus, migration solution lies in economic diversification and citizen participation in the governance process in Africa and Nigeria. For example, the Nigerian government’s heavy intervention in sectors like agriculture and the creative industry (music, movies, literature and fashion) will reduce greatly the over-dependence on crude oil and open up economic opportunities in these sectors that will be able to trap the emigrating working class.

[Editors note] Nigeria is pushing to make a change, and diversify away from the oil industry. In recent weeks, it has been acknowledged that the new start-up capital of Africa is Lagos, and companies like Facebook are stepping up their investment to make sure that connectivity is more substantial. Innovative start-ups are popping up in many sectors. In the agricultural sector, that needs massive investment throughout the continent, there are creative ways of farming with large yields in urban areas, for example Fresh Direct, and FarmCrowdy who are enabling anyone to invest in a farm, even if they can’t get to the farm to work it themselves. The entertainment sector has also seen great innovation.

fresh direct container
3D Urban farming in Nigeria

Nigeria has long been at the forefront of the African movie and music industry, and they keep finding news ways to bringing profitable entertainment. Battabox for example is producing high quality local content, in a clickbait style to draw in the masses.  If you couple this with the rise of e-commerce in Nigeria, as well as the many other innovations, which are creating jobs, and enabling individuals to receive benefits, the future for Nigeria looks promising.

Without government intervention, Nigeria’s creative industry alone is expected to gross in 16billion Naira ($51million) in 2017. In Agriculture, though the Buhari-led government has begun investment with different social investment programs, more still needs to be done. In citizen participation, many Nigerian and African citizens lack the engagement skills needed to channel their economic, social and political needs to appropriate institutions and demand accountability from their leaders in return, and most governments are not citizen-needs-oriented. This lacuna is where corruption, under-development, resource control agitation and political conflict thrive, ultimately resulting in conflict and economic migration. This lacuna could be best addressed with citizen-needs-centered budgets, open budget process, and daily policy and civic education programmes.


Thank you to Chimezie Anjama for this interesting point of view about how innovation in Africa can stop the migration struggle. It is not only about slowing down the rate that economic migrants are leaving African shores. This is also about curbing the brain drain of young excellent Africans who are being poached by other countries, into their top positions. Nigeria in particular has great potential, with a massive and youthful population, they have the chance to be at the forefront of African innovation.

Chimezie Anajama is a sociologist with strong interest in development and public policy sector. She uses her communication and writing skills to tell development stories when not implementing ideas to better her society. A lover of arts, innovative learning and sustainable society. See more of her development related activities here (https://www.instagram.com/nwuliareads/). Tweet her: @MsChimezie

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11 thoughts on “Did You Know Innovation in Africa could solve the migration crisis?

  1. The Editor, Am still on the subject of innovation in Africa would solve migration crises mostly in this region of the world,,I would want to buy that idea but yet i would say that fact is not too good enough because first and foremost Africa is still among one of the developing axis of the world as in today reasoning and by what Africa is made up of innovation can only reduce immigration crises in Africa because most African would not and can never have all that they need as regard to all the necessary information’s they need in regard to life issues and therefore i would want to belief that such fact would only be of partial value.


  2. Dear Editor i would humbly pled that your topic of discussion should be immediately be remove from the controversial arena because no elite will support it and no elite will have a time to discuss on it base on mine understanding.


    1. I appreciate your message, thank you. This platform is open for people to express their opinions and this is a valid one. It is ok to not agree with it, but I can’t simply remove something because some people may not agree.


  3. Hi Chimezie, Hope to buy a good air time one of this days and write and explain ten good reasons why i did not agree with your given topic for discussion,mind you dear am not of that persons that don not place value in made in Africa things but base on the current look of issues thats why i do not buy your topic of discussion,adonisedema40@yahoo.com.


  4. Greeting Dear Chimeze, Am too grateful to communicate with you in fact all the time but bear with me today as i really did not have much time to communicate,happy and continue to remain bless,ADONIS PAUL EDEMA.


  5. A big and hearty greeting indeed dear Chimeze, I could still remember vividly that i was to contribute and say about your topic of innovation in Africa could indeed solve immigration problems of the continent that is AFrica per say,though i would want to but your idea on that fact but than would too emphatically disagree to that reasoning due to many undisputed facts base on many researches carried out by both experts of the local an international society,first of this disagreement that innovation in Africa society can never solve the immigration problem of African is that all pact of the Africa society persons would all the time travel to the abroad countries even at the perceiving of having a slight sickness of even as common as fever and am too sure that you would bear me a wittiness without controversy on that fact,another fact is his all most all African students would prefer to carry out his or study in abroad country instead of the well innovated universities structures in their individual country,therefore dear Chimeze i would be saying much on all of this reasons as the day progresses but than dear am not saying am not a patriotic to mine country Nigeria but am only dong some education on this your topic of reasoning,ADONIS PAUL EDEMA,


  6. Hi Dear Chimese,I assume it is prity a long time i have drafted and comment on the topic that you up for discussion intact and frankly speaking i must confess to you that the topic is not what i should partake in though i may contribute and say some facts about the topic but the real and basic facts still remains that all our advancement have not been able to match that of the abroad countries because i have taken some time to do a little researches on the level of advancement between Africa countries and the abroad countries and mine result shows that we have only reach forty percent of advancement and by this am still saying immigration to thei advance countries is still for the main time an issues that is not debate table because the level of development of Africa infrastructures and machinates is still little wish would put a stop Africans going to the abroad countries for most of their desires and needs,ADONIS EDEMA.


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