Out of Africa

Thousands of migrants travel the deserts of North Africa, fleeing poverty and conflict, determined to reach Libya and eventually Europe. Many Africans with large families can no longer find work as drought and high temperatures devastate the agriculture industry, explains Thomas Friedman for the New York Times. Smugglers collect migrants from Senegal, Nigeria Chad and other countries, cramming them into pickup trucks for caravans of a 100 vehicles or more. Agadez in Niger is a Unesco World Heritage site, but “the cars and buses of the tourist industry have now been repurposed into a migration industry,” Friedman explains. “There are now wildcat recruiters, linked to smugglers, all across West Africa who appeal to the mothers of boys to put up the $400 to $500 to send them to seek out jobs in Libya or Europe.” The head of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification points out that investments in forest restoration and sustainable farming would be more cost-effective in slowing migration than the military measures underway. Africans blocked from escape may succumb to extremism. – YaleGlobal

Out of Africa

Climate change triggers desertification, mass migration and conflict; Africans with large families fail to find work and head north for Europe
Thomas L. Friedman
Thursday, April 14, 2016

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Thomas L. Friedman is a New York Times columnist.

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