Solution to refugee crisis lies in promoting inclusive development process

In recent weeks, news from any international media is incomplete if it has not covered the “refugee crisis” currently facing Europe though this is a global tragedy.

The trekking to Europe from especially the Middle East and Africa continues despite the rising death toll on the turbulent Mediterranean and other international waters of desperate migrants.

Some commentators have described the migration as modern voluntary enslavement in contrast to ancient slavery where chained captives were taken forcefully.

However, a close look at the pattern of movement points to deep seated global challenges whose underlying drivers are global inequality, exclusion, dictatorship and abuse of freedoms.

Germany and other countries welcoming refugees are right because they understand that locking out uninvited visitors is futile.

On the other hand, the Hungarian move to fence off the country is a desperate measure and ignores the fact that there are many ways to European countries other than via Hungary. The approach also ignores the fact that there is no community in the world that can live or prosper in isolation.

Uganda would attest to the fact that many decades of neglect of the Karamoja region in the North East in comparison to other areas explains the influx of Karimojong beggars all over the major urban areas and that attempts to round them up have not solved the problem.

Progress of countries like South Africa and Namibia has attracted neighbours some of whom continue to conduct businesses on city streets despite the enforcement of strict laws.

If house maids or ‘nkubakyeyos’ who have migrated to the developed world return with pompous stories and possessions, which well qualified professionals cannot obtain in home countries, what will prevent them from seeking migration to the ‘promised land’?

This, coupled with extreme poverty, dictatorship, squalid health systems and unpromising education, makes it impossible for many to stay in their home countries.

Thus, put on the weighing scale, the seeming blissful future in the event of one succeeding overpowers the risk of dying over the dangerous waters, which is perceived as a smaller problem.

In any case staying at home does not guarantee quality life because they will either be bombed to death, or forever live in poverty.

Addressing the refugee crisis requires more than the welcoming heart of the Germans.

The solution lies in inclusive growth and a development process, which realises that poverty anywhere is a threat to development everywhere.

There is also need to realise that dictatorship, corruption and bad governance anywhere is detrimental.

We need to know that there can never be total peace and security if any parts of the world, continent, nation, tribe, religion or gender are excluded from benefits of development and freedom.

World leaders and development agencies need to work together to minimise global suffering and confront the glaring obscene inequalities resulting from exclusion.

Leaders should not be blinded by largely colonially drawn borders to think that problems across the imaginary lines will not spill over.

Politicians should go beyond simply paying lip service to the issue of artificial borders to ensure that the world has a critical mass of leaders that respect and serve humanity.

The world should not be a place where resources are collected from the majority and amassed for a few.

The poor will always come for those resources whether invited or not. If the world watches dictators torture and kill their own, it should expect uninvited visitors.

Dr Madanda is an international gender and development consultant


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