Kenya calls on Italy to help tackle root causes of irregular migration

Kenya has proposed that the Italian government turn its attention to the root causes when trying to curb irregular migration. Speaking at the Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference on 25 October 2018, Ababu Namwamba, the Chief Administrative Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained, the “Italian government can work with African countries to address the root causes that force migrants into dangerous travels across the Mediterranean.”

Addressing 350 delegates from 46 African countries, 13 international and multilateral organisations, including the African Union, Secretary Namwamba suggested that by importing more African goods to Italy and supporting peace processes in the continent, the Italian government could help ease the pressures which cause Africans to emigrate.

While recognising the great potential for economic growth created by the large population of African youth, the Secretary underlined the need for European-African cooperation, arguing, “only a shared prosperity will guarantee global stability.”

Along with Spain and Greece, Italy is one of the top receivers of African refugees and migrants in Europe. In 2018, nearly 120,000 migrants arrived on Italian shores. Responding to this influx, the Italian government pursued border control policies such as closing ports to rescue ships and strengthening the capacity of the Libyan Coastguard to intercept irregular migrants. Since then, just 22,000 migrants arrived in Italy by sea in 2018.

The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, however, said he hoped the conference would be an opportunity for “structured dialogue” with African leaders. He added, “We are strongly determined to tackle the issues and opportunities offered by our traditional age-old friendship and evident geopolitical ties.”

In addition to Moavero Milanesi’s commitment to a “relationship genuinely based on cooperation and a fruitful mutual exchange” between Italy and African countries, Italy has recently announced plans to set up a EUR 1 billion development fund to finance the sectors of agriculture, fishing and trade in North Africa. The country is also injecting additional money into the Africa Fund designed to curb irregular migration by enhancing economic investments in countries with high emigration rates.

TMP – 23/11/2018

Photo: Jen Watson/Shutterstock. Women harvesting green tea leaves in Western Kenya. Tea is one of Kenya’s main exports.

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