Very interesting and personal perspective on economic motivations for migration from Africa to Europe in a post by Bruce Whitehouse about a Malian friend of his:
Last year he started talking about emigrating. “I want to leave because there is nothing here. I want to find another country where I can have some money. I’m tired of asking others for help,” he said. He thought about applying for a US visa. He thought about Equatorial Guinea, where he knew someone who had apparently made good money. In the end he decided on Libya, where a friend was working as a carpenter. I warned him not to go. I told him what I’d heard about political instability, armed violence and exploitation of African migrants there. None of it mattered: Lamine bought a bus ticket to Niger, and from there made his way north across the Sahara.
For me the story of Lamine is again confirming that poverty and an absence of hope for the future can be just as powerful as a motivation for people to migrate as war and persecution. And that migrants make very deliberate and well informed choices about the risks they are willing to take.