EU / Gambia: Fighting irregular migration


The Italian government has continued to lend a helping hand to the Gambian government to fight the lingering problem of irregular migration, as it has just donated again about 40 pickup trucks to the Gambia Immigration Department to aid its patrol efforts at forestalling attempts by the Gambian youths who try to brave the perilous journey through the desert and the Mediterranean to reach Europe.


But fighting illegal migration through the back-way by Gambian and by extension African youths has proven too much to contend with as the youths are still kept firm by the stony determination they have to reach the continent they believe possesses the fortune and living condition they so cherish in life. But why not, when Europe has the industries, the factories and other facilities such as better housing, training and good educational structures, among other systems, that can help one to transform life and lead a good living.

This is why African countries like The Gambia, together with European countries such as Spain and Italy, have been fighting to curb irregular migration over the years but to no abate.

The government of the Jammeh era did all it could to curb illegal migration or what we call the back-way but the more they tried the less they succeeded.

Over the years hundreds of Gambian youths, if not thousands, have lost their lives in the deep Mediterranean Sea, while some have seemingly lost track of their progress in life and are stranded in transit countries like Mauritania, Algeria, Libya and some other islands across the desert of North Africa, struggling to reach Europe.

While the government of Jammeh has passed away and the era of Adama Barrow with the new Gambia has been born, we have been seeing some semblance of efforts at trying to curb the back-way menace, with a lot of Gambian youths being returned from their centres of suffering in places like Libya to the Gambia to restart lives at home. But in spite of this, more Gambian youths are on the verge of taking the perilous journey back-way to Europe.

In trying to frustrate these plans and prevent the youths from taking such ventures the Italian government has been working closely with the Gambian authorities with various forms of support, such as the pickup trucks donation, to solve the problem.

But would such efforts by the Gambia government and the European countries help to solve the problem?  It seems unlikely, as there are many questions than answers, for now – to this challenge.

However what is true here is that, as the interior minister rightly quoted President Barrow, is the poor state of our economy and development, which is destroying any hope of making a good living or successful life in the Gambia, especially for the youth from poor background, who as a result of poor governance, corruption and corrupt practices, have been left vulnerable and handicapped to making a successful life in their homeland.

Indeed we need seriousness in building a nation with a knowledge-based economy that has its base on industrialization – manufacturing – which creates jobs, produces products for exportation, brings in foreign exchange and continues to create opportunity for more skills to be learnt and more developments to be derived from our labour with better earning power.

This may guarantee our populations the good life or living that is attracting our people to Europe.

“Where asylum is used as a route to economic migration, it can cause deep resentment in the host community.”

David Blunkett