In 2050, Africa will be more populated than China but the young working age population will be three times larger, said Serge Michailof, from the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, IRIS, and former Head of Operations at Agence Française de Développement, at an EIB Institute seminar.

The problem will be particularly acute in the Sahel (Niger, Mali..), an already politically unstable and economically underdeveloped region with very few employment opportunities for an expanding population (currently 70-million inhabitants and about 150 million in 10 years’ time).

Reforming and strengthening the security sector should be a priority for aid agencies but these activities are beyond their mandate and, for systemic reasons, they do a poor job in fragile, conflict-affected countries, he added.

“(…) As long as state institutions remain weak and non-existent in rural areas, as long as Official Development Assistance to the Sahel remains disorganized and without clear strategy (…) cancers, particularly those developed from Boko Haram (..) will circulate in the sub-region” (and their)” metastases would certainly develop in neighbouring countries that are still fragile,” deplores M. Michailof.

In such a case “Europe would be confronted to new migrations of a magnitude likely to dwarf ongoing migrations from Syria,” he concluded.

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