Europe has only just started to breathe easy again following the migrant crisis of 2015, but it could soon have another major challenge to take up. According to Stephen Smith, a Professor of African Studies at Duke University, the continent’s population explosion will not be accompanied by a similar rise in economic development, and in the coming decades, an unprecedented migratory flow could head towards Europe.
This will be caused by their inexhaustible fertility rate. Pregnancy is not always wanted, but if a woman wants more than five children, contraceptive aids will be useless. This is the desire of the majority of women in 18 African countries, according to a study published in 2010 by the United States Agency for International Development. The record is held by Chadian husbands, who want to give their wives more than 13 children!
“When I was born in 1956, there were 180,000 inhabitants in Abidjan. Today there are 4 million. There were 300 million Africans south of the Sahara. Today there are 1.3 billion, and there will be 2.5 billion by 2050,” Smith said.
This represents an age pyramid where 40% of the sub-Saharan population is under the age of 15. Never in history have the inhabitants of any part of the world been as young as the sub-Saharan Africans. “The migratory pressure will only increase,” Smith explains, but this phenomenon does not pertain to “the poorest people.” “These are the ones who know where to go, who are on Facebook, who have a mobile phone, and the two or three thousand euros needed to emigrate, “he says. According to a 2016 study conducted by the Gallup Institute, 42% of Africans aged 15 to 24 want to emigrate. “They left the village to go to Europe, and now there is an overflow. People will go abroad, not necessarily to Europe, but mainly to Europe.”
This constitutes a real challenge for the old continent.