Emigration from Africa

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This article addresses recent emigration from Africa. See African diaspora for a general treatment of historic population movements. See recent African origin of modern humans for pre-historic human migration.
A map of Africa.

During the period of 2000-2005, an estimated 440,000 people per year emigrated from Africa, A total number of 17 million migrants within Africa was estimated for 2005.[1] The figure of 0.44 million African emigrants per year (corresponding to about 0.05% of the continent's total population) pales in comparison to the annual population growth of about 2.6%, indicating that only about 2% of Africa's population growth is compensated for by emigration.[2]

During the 2000s, North Africa had been receiving large numbers of Sub-Saharan African migrants "in transit", predominantly from West Africa, who plan to enter Europe. An annual 22,000 illegal migrants took the route from either Tunisia or Libya to Lampedusa in the 2000-2005 period. This figure has decreased in 2006, but it has increased greatly as a result of the 2011 Tunisian revolution and the 2011 Libyan civil war. In 2005, 10,000 West African migrants heading for Europe were stranded in the Mauritanian port of Nouadhibou, and 20,000 sub-Saharan African migrants were waiting for an opportunity to cross to Europe in the Spanish enclaves in North Africa.[3]


Further information: African immigration to Europe

There is significant migration from Africa to Europe. As of 2007, there were an estimated seven million African migrants living in OECD countries. Of these, about half are of North African origin, mostly residing in France, Italy, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands, while the other half are of Sub-Saharan African origin, present throughout Western Europe, with significant concentrations in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

African immigration to the United States has been comparatively slight, totalling around 3,183,104 individuals as of 2010.[4]

Some of this migration is illegal. The European Union Frontex agency's "Operation Hermes" is also monitoring the Mediterranean between North Africa and Italy. Due to increased border controls along the Mediterranean, there has been a shift of preferred migration routes towards Greece.

African populations in Europe[edit]

Approximate populations of African origin in Europe:

  • Arabs (including North African and Middle Eastern Arabs): approx. 5 million, mostly in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece and Russia. (see Arabs in Europe)
  • Sub-Equatorial Africans: approx. 5 million; mostly in Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal.[5]
  • Berbers: approx. 2 million, mostly in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain.


In Australia, the number of immigrants from Africa has grown substantially since the 1990s, with most concentrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The largest of these African Australian populations is the South African community, and the Census in 2011 recorded 145,683 South Africa-born people in Australia. News anchor Anton Enus, the author J. M. Coetzee, and the singer Selwyn Pretorius are examples of local celebrities from this community. Also substantial is the 40,000-strong Egyptian Australian community, mostly concentrated in Sydney,[7] the 30,000-strong Zimbabwean Australian community,[8] and the 28,000-strong Mauritian Australian community.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ World migration 2008: Managing labour mobility in the evolving global economy Volume 4 of IOM world migration report series, International Organization for Migration, Hammersmith Press, 2008 ISBN 978-92-9068-405-3, pp. 38, 407 .
  2. ^ 2006 OECD data, cited in World migration 2008, Hammersmith Press, 2008, ISBN 978-92-9068-405-3, pp. 409-410.
  3. ^ 2006 OECD data, cited in World migration 2008, Hammersmith Press, 2008, ISBN 978-92-9068-405-3, pp. 409-410.
  4. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  5. ^ France's blacks stand up to be counted
  6. ^ Youths bring violence from a war-torn land
  7. ^ http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/comm-summ/_pdf/egypt.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/comm-summ/_pdf/zimbabwe.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/comm-summ/_pdf/mauritius.pdf
  • Arno Tanner, Emigration, brain drain and development: the case of Sub-Saharan Africa, 2009, ISBN 978-952-99592-1-1.
  • Belachew Gebrewold-Tochalo (ed.), Africa and Fortress Europe: threats and opportunities, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007, ISBN 978-0-7546-7204-3.
  • Hein de Haas, Irregular Migration from West Africa to the Maghreb and the European Union: An Overview of Recent Trends, International Organization for Migration, Geneva, 2008.