US still the No.1 destination for immigrants
Refugees from Ethiopia accounted for about nine percent of all African migrants resettled by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) from 2001-2010 according to a World Migration Report (WMR) released under the banner “Communicating effectively about Migration” by the IOM here in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2012.
The United States was the main destination for most Ethiopians, followed by Western nations like Canada, Australia, Nordic and other countries in Western Europe. The US alone took in about 66 percent of the refugees worldwide at 532,078 migrants with the other regions only managing 103,282 resettled refugees.
By far the largest number of refugees resettled in the report released by the IOM came from the war torn Horn of Africa country Somalia representing about 30 percent of the total African refugees, followed by Sudan at 15 percent and Liberia at 12 percent. In total about 245,350 people were resettled from Africa the largest among the world’s region closely followed by Asia at 234,620 migrants, and Europe and Middle East distantly in fourth and fifth place with 162,350 and 101,751 people respectively.
In the Asian region refugees from Myanmar took the overwhelming majority at 43 percent, followed distantly by the Central Asian Country of Afghanistan known internationally for its long ongoing civil war at 18 percent and the small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan at 17 percent.
While in Europe refugees from the Islamic Republic of Iran took the lead at 27 percent, followed by the eastern European country of Ukraine and the world’s largest country Russian Federation.
At the other end of the spectrum major involvements in voluntary repatriation assistance IOM gave from 2001-2010, Ethiopians are in the top ten. The Ethiopians were mainly repatriated from the Middle Eastern country of Yemen and totaled 3,312.
Nevertheless the largest number of voluntary repatriation assistance given in this period were for Angolans returning from Zambia, followed by Democratic republic of Congo returnees from Angola and returnees of Afghani origin from Tajikistan. In total 130,610 people were involved in the resettlement scheme from 87 countries, costing USD 41 million during this period.
The report also noted that in 2010, about two thirds of migrants from Sub-Sahara moved to other countries in the region. Only four percent of all migrants living in developed countries were found to be from Sub-Saharan Africa.
And 90 percent of North African migrants travelled to countries outside the region. Some of the North African countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia had as early as the 1960s and 1970s began actively facilitating the international mobility of their nationals.
According to the report, in total about half of Africa’s migrants live outside the continent, the majority in Europe with their remittances back home constituting 2.6 percent of Africa’s GDP.
One interesting aspect of the report was the 2006 survey done by the European Commission which found that the Scandinavian country of Sweden had the highest proportion of respondents with 79 percent of those who thought immigrants contribute a lot to the country.
This figure was followed by the southern European country of Portugal at 66 percent and Ireland and Luxembourg following at 56 percent each.
Yet the European Union average stood at only 40 percent of respondents, with prominent countries like United Kingdom and France having less than 50 percent positive respondents and the European Economic giant Germany having only a measly 30 percent of positive respondents. Eastern and Central European countries formed the least number of positive respondents among the 25 countries surveyed.
Another revealing data the IOM report showed was that eight of the ten top countries with the highest share of international migrants relative to their native population were located in the Middle Eastern Countries. The report revealed that although Europe and North America had the highest number of immigrants, in total in terms of population they are far outpaced by these Mideast countries.
The countries mentioned were mostly the Gulf region states of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and the regional heavyweight and the world’s largest oil producer Saudi Arabia. Jordan was the only non-Gulf country in the field.
The United States in 2010 according to the IOM report was the top country of destination in the world hosting 43 million foreign nationals, representing roughly 13.5 percent of the US population with the Hispanic population nearly doubling over the last decade, while the Mexicans alone accounted for 11.6 million immigrants or just about less than a third of the foreign population.
The publication of the report was launched on January 30, 2012. It was attended by Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Haliemariam Desalegn, William Lacy Swing IOM Director General and representative of the African Union Chairman Doctor Olawale Maiyegun.