The economic crisis and rising unemployment particularly among the youth has seen thousands of young Europeans fleeing to Africa in search of work and higher living standards.
Traditional global migration patterns are being challenged by the economic recession. Usually, people from poor countries flee to the West in search for jobs and opportunies. Now, unemployed young Europeans are beginning to migrate to the fast-growing economies of developing “Third World” countries.
A deep economic crisis in European countries characterized by overwhelming debts, rising unemployment, drastic spending cuts has sparked emigration among its frustrated youth.
According to International Business Times, thousands of young Portuguese have migrated to Mozambique in recent years – reportedly as many as 120.000 in 2011 alone. It is estimated, that 25 percent of the Portuguese youth (between the age of 16 and 25) are unemployed.
Portuguese in Mozambique
In contrast to the dire prospects in Portugal, the economy of Mozambique is growing. The former Portuguese colony saw a growth of nearly 8 percent in 2011. Once solely an agricultural economy, the country’s vast natural resources are now being exploited for development.
Despite the economic growth, most Mozambicans remain very poor. According to the World Bank, the average life expectancy is only 48 years and about half of the population live in poverty, the majority of these in rural areas.
Thus, if Mozambique is to truly establish and sustain a prosperous society – the kind that can attract large numbers of highly-skilled immigrants that want to stay for generations, it needs to spread the wealth more widely and ensure jobs for locals.
The exodus of the skilled and well-educated
In the past decades, we have witnessed the desperate measures of people in conflict areas, such as Somalia, in their attempt to flee violence and insecurity. Thousands of Somali refugees have put their lives at risk in order to escape to Yemen, Saudi Arabia or Europe.
Now, young, skilled and well-educated European citizens are willing to migrate to these same conflict areas and former colonies in search of jobs and opportunities. It is a historic role reversal.
In Denmark, unemployment rates are not quite as high as they are in Portugal, but still I find myself applying for jobs abroad and seriously considering whether working as a journalist in Somalia is a good career move or not. I am seriously considering to return to the country my family left behind 22 years ago – in search for work and opportunities.