Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
Israel this week started deporting a planeload of migrants to South Sudan early on Monday, the first of a series of weekly repatriation flights intended as a stepping stone to dealing with much greater influxes of migrants from Sudan, Eritrea and Ivory Coast.
About 60,000 Africans have crossed into Israel across its porous border with Egypt in recent years. Israel says the vast majority are job seekers, disputing arguments by humanitarian agencies that they should be considered for asylum.
Many in Israel see the Africans as a threat to public order and to the demographics of the Jewish state. Street protests, some violent, have put pressure on the government, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of Africans “flooding” and “swamping” Israel, threatening “the character of the country”.
The government has seized on the few hundred South Sudanese migrants, whose de facto refugee status was rescinded by an Israeli court this month, and whose government, sympathetic to Israel, is happy to take them back
Just stop someone on the street and ask if they have a cousin, a brother, or a sister living in Europe, the United States or elsewhere around Africa, and most likely they’ll say that they have two or three or more. Remittances from those loved ones total some $40 billion per year, according to the United Nations. In some countries, diaspora money makes up more than 20 percent of the gross domestic product, and analysts say, remittance cash may be as much as 50 percent higher than current estimates due to informal transfers.
But there is growing concern that this money could be a victim of a spiralling crisis in global financial markets.