While many Europeans and North Americans still view the continent as poor, war-torn and desolate, Africans see more opportunities at home than outside the continent. In fact, many West African nations are booming.
In West Africa, the majority of people are on the move but don’t leave the region. This south-south migration is contributing to the economic boom across its major capitals.
“West Africans … are seven times more likely to move within West African countries than to go to Europe or North America,” Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Dakar.
“For the past 40 years, 15 countries in West Africa agreed to allow free movement of people and goods within its borders. Migrants from the region sent $33bn to their loved ones last year,” he added.
“This is no shithole; it’s the land of opportunity, with perseverance anything is possible,” Christ Justell Ngana, a migrant from Congo working in Senegal’s growing capital, said.
Cheikh Ndiaye from Guinea Bissau, another migrant worker who spoke to Al Jazeera, said: “Every week I send money back to my mom and my little sisters who are all going to school thanks to what I send.”
“After having left my family behind, I have no regrets to have chosen Senegal, I feel comfortable with people who are black Africans like me, I’d take that any time over being with white people and so far away from my family,” said Alpha Diallo, a migrant worker from Guinea.
Much of the growth is fueled by freedom of movement and cross-border trade. Economists at the International Monetary Fund acknowledge that across 18 countries, GDP is up 5 percent.
“Africa’s sleeping ‘lion economies’ are now roaring ahead with Ghana predicted to grow at 9 percent, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal at 7 percent.
“The US president may call it a shithole, but the United States invested $65bn in African countries in 2016, and that number is expected to rise in 2018,” reports Haque.
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