German - Africa Migration Dialogue Correcting the mis-representation of narratives on migration from Africa to Germany

Grounded in the discussions held during the meetings of the Progressive Working Group on Migration (see on our website:"The Progressive Migration Working Group – Bridging the gaps in the EU-African Migration Dialogue") recognizing the misrepresentation of realities of migration from Africa to Europe and acknowledging the adverse shift in migration policies and approaches across Europe and in Germany, the African Migration Policy Center (formerly FMCC) took two members of the PMG to engage German parliamentarians as well as experts working in international organizations, civil society and think-tanks. The experts gave input in a round table organized at the FES Berlin office on 9 November 2023 and at a breakfast meeting held at the Bundestag (the German Parliament) the following day.


In 2015, the number of persons seeking asylum in European countries reached a record high with 1.3 million applications received in 28-member states. According to the Pew Research Center, before this mass influx of asylum seekers the highest number of asylum seekers was recorded in 1992 following the fall of the Soviet Union when 700,000 asylum seekers were recorded. During the 2015-16 European refugee crisis, Germany was one of the countries hailed for putting in place welcoming policies. However, it is clear that this policy has shifted in recent times with anti-migrant rhetoric increasingly gaining momentum in Germany.

The question here is how does this shift in policy affect migrants who make the trip to Germany in search of safety, economic gains or even family reunification. Recognizing this, AMPC with support from the FES Africa department prepared a round table that aimed at challenging the often false or at least exaggerated narratives around migration from Africa to Europe. Migration experts Paddy Siyanga Knudsen (Vice-President of the Global Research Forum on Diaspora & Trans-nationalism) and Felicity Okoth (Coordinator of the International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER) research network at the Bergen University) discussed with different governmental and non-governmental stakeholders those narratives as well as trends in African-European migration patterns. For instance, both experts stressed that a majority of African migrants use regular pathways of migration (approximately 90%) while only a very small number reaches EU countries through irregular means. With regard to geopolitical shifts, experts also stressed that African countries need to pursue their interests more self-confidently. Designing and implementing migration agreements according to the EU's interests alone does not reflect the international system and power relations anymore in the 21st Century. Instead, agreements have to be mutually beneficial – and the African Union, RECs and AU member states have to be involved in the design and implementation of such agreements as equal partners.

On 10 November 2023, a breakfast meeting was organized at the German Bundestag zooming in on the comprehensive migration agreements Germany is pursuing with selected countries across the globe - India being the most advanced case. During the breakfast meeting, Paddy Siyanga Knudsen and Dr. Anne Koch from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs discussed with Members of Parliament and other attendants of the meeting several key issues that should be considered in the process of designing and implementing such policies. Siyanga Knudsen stressed the need to understand the local needs of African countries and their citizens when designing such bilateral agreements. She also noted that bilateral agreements must be in line with migration and trade policies at the continental and sub-regional levels in Africa. Dr Koch’s contribution during the breakfast meeting focused on the nature of the migration agreements Germany has already agreed on and plans to do so in the coming years. Zooming into the so-called comprehensive agreements on the rise in Germany, Dr. Koch stressed the importance of the reality on the ground in countries with whom Germany gets into these agreements with – by noting that the effectiveness of such agreements relies on this. The importance of transparency of such agreements was a strong message that came out of the breakfast meeting.

EU-Africa migration discourse is one of the pillars of the work of AMPC. We seek to bring African perspectives to the migration policy debates at the EU level and in Germany. Building on the interactions during the roundtable and the parliamentary breakfast in Berlin, AMPC will continue working on and supporting the EU-Africa migration dialogue.



African Migration Policy Center

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