1. Where do EU funds spent on “development” in Africa go?
After 2015, in addition to existing development aid funds from the European Development Fund (EDF), EU has set up a so-called emergency instrument of 4 billion euros, the European Trust Fund (EUTF). Within the framework of the EU budget negotiations (Multiannual Financial Framework MFF) for the years 2021 – 2027, new funds of more than 30 billion euros are currently being negotiated. It is planned to double spending on “migration management” and quadruple spending on border upgrading. These funds will mainly be used to stop migration to Europe already on the African continent as effectively as possible by obliging governments to cooperate in migration control ̶ for example by expanding border management, but also by strengthening the justice and security apparatus against “smugglers” and “human traffickers”.
The money flows primarily to states with migration hubs such as Mali, NigerThis triggers the tooltip and Sudan or to states with which the EU has already concluded deportation or readmission agreements or where it considers a new agreement to be promising, such as the populous states of Nigeria and Ethiopia. From the outset, the aim was to implement such agreements as soon as possible, to satisfy European electorates with a high number of deportations and to strengthen transnational networks for migration control.
On this page we will show in detail which programmes in which countries EU is supporting, with the sole aim of preventing or reversing migration.
2. What about development, democracy and human rights?
The classic conditions of development cooperation ̶ “good governance”, low corruption, poverty ̶ have partly been thrown overboard. In the first place, the willingness of the state to play doorman for the EU now comes first. To this end, EU also cooperates with dictators, authoritarian regimes and militia leaders. One example is the RSF militias in Sudan, which are responsible for the genocide in Darfur and which are now deployed as border guards. Another example is the EU’s cooperation with the so-called Libyan coast guard, militias that first send migrants and refugees out to sea in unseaworthy rubber dinghies, only to “rescue” them ̶ in uniform ̶ and then deport them to camps similar to concentration camps. Or with the Egyptian military dictator El Sissi, to whom the EU has promised billions of euros, although he has locked up thousands of political opponents and activists behind bars to silence them.
EU also aims to deport migrants to Africa without bureaucratic hurdles. EU development funds are therefore not primarily concerned with the need for help or opportunities for the local population, but with controlling migration at all costs.
On this page we show in detail that state regimes, dictators, generals and corrupt presidents enrich themselves on EU funds and thus maintain their power, while people on the ground are denied their human rights and opportunities for a better life.
3. What would really benefit the people in Africa?
Whether the Africans are really helped with the so-called “development aid” or rather the respective regimes, the big corporations which exploit the raw materials and a small upper class, needs to be questioned. The direct remittances of migrants promote the economic development of poor countries much more than development aid. The money arrives directly at families and family-supported small businesses and ensures the survival of many thousands.
The EU has often promised to create “legal channels” for migration to Europe, as well as the “resettlement” of people in need from refugee camps. Instead, it closes the few remaining routes and possibilities to migrate.
If we put the ageing of the European population and the mobility of young people in Africa side by side, a clear picture emerges: more immigration from Africa would be a win-win situation for everyone! The main reason to prevent this seems to be the prejudice that Europe must remain white, or rather the preventive fear of the further strengthening of right-wing forces in Europe. In fact, many studies have shown that the European population actually has nothing against newcomers from Asia and Africa.
And even if there were such majorities, as perhaps in Saxony, Poland or Hungary, politicians would have the duty to educate rather than serve and reinforce prejudices, for example by renaming the EU Commission’s Department for Migration as “Protecting our European Way of Life”.
We show on this page: freedom of movement for all people – also in Africa and from Africa to Europe – cannot be prevented in the global age and it is for the benefit of all if it takes place in solidarity and democracy.
4. Who benefits from armament and border control?
In order to close the passages to Europe, inner-African borders are increasingly being upgraded and African border guards trained. European manufacturers of security technology, often produced by arms companies, are receiving orders worth billions.
The armament in the Sahara and Sahel region is being pushed forward by various actors. The focus is usually on the so-called “war on terror” ̶ for geopolitical reasons. However, this armament and training is at the same time being used to work against migration. European military missions, for example, have had their mandates in the area of migration extended since 2015. In the meantime, there are increasing warnings that Europe is becoming a warring party in the Sahel and Sahara itself, as in Afghanistan.
The expansion of biometric identification papers and databases, surveillance systems and the supply of weapons and military vehicles to African security agencies are turning Africa into a sales market for European technology. Governments are supplied with cost-intensive high technology that they can use to monitor the population and maintain their power. The training of African border guards is carried out with the help of European forces.
This page shows: Certainly, it is not the population that benefits, but rather authoritarian regimes and arms companies.
5. Who are the losers?
Today’s demarcation of African states is the legacy of colonialism. The lines drawn on the map due to European economic and power interests intersect the migration areas of nomadic and pastoralist populations and ethnic kinships. The armament of the borders threatens local economies and trade routes. Seasonal migration becomes “international” migration. In many cases, European border management projects lead to the cutting of traditional migration routes, because intra-African migration is also generally assumed to be only a first step on the road to Europe.
The regional communities of states in East and West Africa, which were founded on the model of the EU, have included the free movement of labour and goods in their programme and want to introduce common passports. Integration instead of regulation holds development potential for the entire continent. On the one hand, the EU finances the African Union; on the other hand, it destroys integration processes by arming its borders. It promotes joint military and police units (especially the “G5 Sahel“) and trains them, but for civilians, official border crossing is becoming increasingly difficult, expensive and dangerous. The EU’s approach is: Schengen for the EU, border controls for Africa. Many areas, especially in the Sahara, have become areas under military siege in the years since 2015.
This page shows: The freedom of travel of the Europeans is bought with border controls in Africa and an omnipresence of surveillance techniques.