Which things about Africa have we said so far? An unstoppable demography, robots replacing human beings in lots of sectors, an inadequate politics, out-of-control megalopolis and poverty increasing. If all these conditions, already existing in the continent, are not faced and changed, Africa’s future will be really problematic and negative.
Migration flows – mainly from sub-Saharan and central African countries – will be huge and, added to population growth, could find a totally unprepared Europe. Immigration predictions are based on figures which are calculated starting from present conditions, and therefore taking for granted that African countries are managing actively their own territories. But if, in the most negative of possible hypothesis, governments couldn’t exert anymore this little authority they presently have – not managing to offer its communities an acceptable quality of life – an unprecedented exodus will occur: people having no alternative will run away. While today people leaving are the chosen ones and the ones the villages invest on, in the future we could see entire villages emptying themselves.
Before demographic pressure and a politics which can’t channel dissents by offering services and social guarantees, migration flows could really worsen.
Going back to our little experience, we are worried when thinking about our Korogocho slum, where fundamental human rights are daily denied: in some years, slums’ inhabitants will be many more and hygienic services and job opportunities will keep on being inexistent. In this situation lacking living spaces, people could do nothing but migrate or fight.
A picture taken in the Korogocho slum.
During north Africa’s Arab Spring, the initial revolts were caused by the lack of bread, that is by hunger. More than this emergency, rage against dictators’ arrogance and greed – who have always denied citizens’ freedoms and rights – was fundamental. These revolts were subdued by blood, some concessions and, in some cases, the replacements of old rulers.
Anyway, repression was led by forces which could manage and move an army. If in sub-Saharan Africa tensions resulted in a real revolt, the situation would be much more severe: billions of people revolting, without a leadership facing the situation.
This context of great social dissension could create the conditions for terrorism’s flare-up. I intentionally haven’t dealt with this subject, even if it involves significantly lots of African countries. Al – Shabaab and Boko Haram are only some of the names evoking the presence of terroristic cells, but many more can emerge. In the continent Islam involves 40% of the population, Christianism is the religion of 45% of people, while the remaining 15% is divided into local and animist religions.
There will be a group of young people, in big troubles, which could fall in the hands of new forces linked to renewed terroristic cells. The strength of these groups is only one: offering a hope and a meal to these young abandoned people. When alternative is hunger, everything becomes possible, even being recruited by local terroristic inventions.
Armed members of Al-Shabab in Mogadischu, Somalia.
Proportions are easy to calculate: wider the group of young, unemployed and hopeless people, higher the risk that internal tensions may result in choices, which will be dangerous for Europe: crowds of migrants, armed conflicts, terrorism worsening.
Moreover, there is a suspicion which keeps on emerging in this extreme situation: our cynical and myopic European politics could hide the political intention of pretending to help, using palliatives to appease public opinion about migrations, but keeping on playing the same game with Africa, leaving their poverty to them and taking their cheap riches.
This is a tragedy which has lasted for centuries. I believe that the end of the game is near.
This match is not played by 100 million people, as once happened, but by billions of people on the opposite Mediterranean coast, which are furious, hungry and unstoppable.
I wish European leaders or at least south Europeans ones – and Italians should be the first – realized it soon and faced the problem with seriousness, foresight and a little bit of intelligence.
This is only a wish. But it’s the only option we have.