Date
12 December 2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) talks with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama at the summit in Valletta, Malta, on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) talks with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama at the summit in Valletta, Malta, on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

EU to offer Africans aid, other benefits to cut migration

The European Union has offered African states a range of aid as well as easier visa access and lower costs for migrants sending cash home in return for help to curb migration into the EU, including by taking back illegal immigrants.

A 17-page action plan to be agreed by EU and African leaders at a summit on Malta on Thursday, seen by Reuters, sets out dozens of initiatives, many long established, others fresh, for what leaders say should be a partnership to combat the poverty and insecurity driving Africans north and ensure that migration is safe and beneficial to all involved.

According to the plan, EU and African states will expand and accelerate the return of illegal African immigrants from Europe to their home countries.

In return, EU governments would offer cooperative African states easier visa access for people to travel to Europe, including for work.

The number of African students and university teachers taking part in an EU-run educational exchange program would be doubled next year from the level in 2014.

The plan also addresses African concerns that curbing migration could crimp remittances from Africans to families back home.

UN officials estimate that remittances may provide twice as much to the African economy as official aid.

Meanwhile, there are complaints that Africans are charged too much to send money home — as much as 10 percent or more in many cases.

The plan seeks to lower that cost to below 3 percent by 2030 and encourage a substantial reduction in transfer costs within five years, the news agency said.

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RA/CG

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