MADRID – Like hundreds earlier than him, Oufame Mdiay left Senegal seeking work and a greater future.
Taking his life in his fingers, he spent every week in a cramped boat with almost 130 others who lately made the Atlantic journey from Senegal to Spain’s Canary Islands, 100 kilometers off the coast of Morocco.
“I need to discover work right here as there may be nothing for me again in Senegal. I got here with my 4 brothers,” he instructed VOA from his non permanent new dwelling on the island of Gran Canaria.
The 19-year-old is studying Spanish whereas he waits to search out out if his declare for asylum will probably be profitable – or he will probably be deported again to Senegal.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will make the reverse journey, touring from Madrid to Senegal and Angola beginning Wednesday – in an official jet moderately than a flimsy boat – to launch a brand new diplomatic initiative to make Africa a precedence for Spain.
Spain’s leftist authorities needs to fight unlawful immigration by boosting Madrid’s financial hyperlinks with a raft of African nations by 2023.
Throughout his go to to Senegal, Sanchez will reward the work of Spanish police who’re posted within the West African to struggle folks smugglers.
The purpose of the technique is to curb unlawful immigration that brings hundreds of unskilled African laborers who, some politicians complain, contribute little to the Spanish financial system.
The technique, known as Africa Focus 2023, additionally features a plan by the federal government to encourage monetary packages to help Spanish firms in search of to develop in Africa and to name for debt aid for African nations at G20 conferences.
This system additionally features a raft of academic initiatives together with one known as Eramus+ that may try and encourage Africans to come back to Spain to coach for jobs which may very well be helpful for the Spanish financial system sooner or later.
This might reverse the pattern of sub-Saharan migrants who find yourself selecting crops or peddling pretend designer purses on Spanish seashores.
Up to now 12 months, Spain has turn into the main target of the European migration disaster after greater than 25,000 folks arrived within the Canary Islands since January 2020 from Western Africa.
Authorities had been left struggling to deal with the deluge of arrivals and hundreds had been left dwelling in tents in a makeshift dockside camp.
Emergency camps had been arrange however the path of migrants making an attempt to flee the financial disaster in Africa brought on by the pandemic exhibits no indicators of let up.
Other than financial support to African states, a Spanish warship will probably be deployed off the coast of West Africa to fight the pirates and smugglers.
At a time when Spain’s unemployment fee and the variety of failing companies are surging because of the pandemic, the measures are an indication of a rising urgency for Madrid to halt unlawful immigration.
“We expect that the simplest technique to acquire this result’s by way of prevention at origin and transit nations,” a Spanish International Ministry supply instructed VOA.
“Prevention means helping our migratory companions in dealing with the challenges on drivers of involuntary migration from their nations so the hyperlink between migration and growth will probably be for a while nonetheless robust,” the supply mentioned.
Spain may also increase help, each politically and financially, to regulation enforcement companies in coaching in African states which can be on the entrance line in opposition to the struggle in opposition to folks smugglers.
Analysts imagine Spain’s diplomatic initiative must reverse years of neglect of the area by Europe whereas China has cast robust hyperlinks with many African states.
“Europe has obtained to get a extra environment friendly relationship with Africa by way of instilling extra democracy, higher practices for immigration and financial funding. They have to reverse this division which has existed till now,” Carmen Gonzalez, an professional in worldwide migration on the Actual Elcano Institute, a Madrid analysis group, mentioned.
She mentioned opening up an Erasmus scheme for African college students would begin to give them an opportunity to coach for certified jobs.
Gonzalez mentioned Spain, like different southern European nations corresponding to Greece and Italy which have acquired giant numbers of migrants lately, have didn’t acquire the help they want from the EU to deal with the burden.
“The EU has to bear in mind extra the African perspective or the issue will stick with it. There should be extra solidarity amongst EU states.”
NGOs welcomed the Spanish authorities’s initiative however known as for extra humanitarian visas for migrants to achieve entry to Europe as a substitute of closing frontiers in return for financial support.
“One of many methods for authorized and safe entry to Spain that they may begin is the concession of extra humanitarian visas for individuals who really feel that they’ve been pressured to go away their nations as a result of they haven’t any different possibility, particularly from African nations,” Nuria Ferre, of the Spanish Fee for Refugees, instructed VOA.
“We expect this might be the easiest way to cut back unlawful immigration and never asking transit nations to shut their frontiers in return for extra support for growth,” Ferre mentioned.