Young Africans perish at sea while seeking opportunities: Mugo

27 Apr 2014 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 27 APR (NAMPA) – African employers are concerned about the loss of lives when Africans seeking a better life in Europe perish at sea.
“With all the opportunities Africa has, it pains employers to watch tragedies frequently occur when migrants' ships capsize in the sea, killing young Africans who are trying to get opportunities in Europe,” Jacqueline Mugo, the Secretary-General of Business Africa, said during the opening of the Labour Ministers’ meeting of the Special Session of the African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission in Windhoek on Friday.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) recently reported that immigration charities estimate that between 17 000 and 20 000 migrants have died at sea while trying to reach Europe in the past 20 years.
Facing unrest, economic hardship and persecution in Africa, many of the migrants attempt to reach places such as Lampedusa in Italy, which is situated some 113 kilometres from northern Africa, with many losing their lives in the process.
“African employers do not wish to be the voice of criticism of what is going wrong in our continent. We instead want to be seen as the voice of hope for Africa, making concrete proposals for change and maximising on opportunities that are abundant,” Mugo said.
She noted that the continent has 52 per cent of the world's arable land, and yet the continent is still importing food.
“We have a relatively young population when other continents such as Europe are faced with an aging population. We have plenty of untapped mineral resources, we have abundant opportunities to produce renewable energy such as wind and solar. With all these opportunities it pains us to watch young Africans perish at sea,” she said.
The Labour Ministers' meeting follows a three-day special session of the Labour and Social Affairs Commission (LASC) of the AU which brought together approximately 400 delegates from 54 AU member states.
The LASC meeting was organised by the AU commission and the government of Namibia in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The meeting was also set to adopt a Revised Policy Framework for the next decade on labour, employment and social protection and discuss modalities for preparation of the AU Extra-ordinary Summit in September 2014.
Participants of the special session also include the regional economic communities, the Pan-African Parliament, AU’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council, New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), international partners, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and faith-based organisations.
The ministers' meeting, which was officially opened by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, ended on Friday.