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US travel ban and Africa’s refugee friendliness

The US travel ban, a decree by president Donald Trump, has been the major news headline this week. And at the just ended Summit of the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres reiterated that Africa remains the most open in the world.

Contrary to the policies in Europe or the United States, Africa remains the largest continent in terms of accommodating refugees and migrants. In their latest annual report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that Africa alone hosts 4.41 million of the refugees in the world out of a total of 21.3 million.

Besides, five African nations are in the world’s top 10 refugee-friendly countries. I’m talking about Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Dr Congo and Chad.

And these numbers are expected to increase, according to some security experts, with the crisis in Burundi and South Sudan.

It might surprise you, Somalia, which is part of the three African countries whose citizens are not allowed to enter the U.S. territory also hosts refugees. We’ve seen several nationals of the Yemen fleeing the civil war in the streets of Mogadishu and other Somali cities.

The example of Somalia shows quite clearly that Africa, despite its problems is still very much open. This was further affirmed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres whiles addressing Heads of States of the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa earlier this week.

The observation is clear. Africa welcomes everyone, but Africans are not welcomed everywhere, Donald Trump has just laid emphasis on a policy that is already been applied in most western countries today.
That issue was raised at the just ended Summit of the African Union by the immediate past President of the Commission of the African Union, Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma.

She was even more explicit than the Secretary-General of the United Nations, saying,“this is one of the greatest challenges and tests to our unity and solidarity.”

We should expect the African Union to mobilise, on the recent travel ban by Donald Trump, which specifically targets Libya, Somalia and Sudan. For the moment, I cannot tell in what form this reaction or mobilization would be.

It might be the Organization of a Summit with the United States such as that the one held in Valletta with the EU towards the end of 2015. Would this translate to a greater fluidity in the movement of Africans around the world? That if you ask me is the multimillion dollar question.

About Raphael Augustine

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