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Are you better off in Africa?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 13:51 UK time, Tuesday, 3 August 2010

In Wednesday's Africa Have Your Say programme we're keen to explore some of the issues thrown up in the winning play in this year's BBC African Performance Season.

newyork200.jpgWill Smith Lookalike, written by Ugandan Deborah Asiimwe and broadcast at 1600 GMT on Thursday, tells the story of young Tereka. He stays behind after a school trip to New York with the dream of becoming famous. But that dream quickly falls apart and a wise Jamaican bag lady takes him under her wing.

With global economies in a flux and jobs losses at an all time high, does migrating abroad still hold the same allure? Are you better off realising your dreams in Africa? Or do the more developed countries in the west still remain the best places to build a better life?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 4 August at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    Dear BBC, migrating abroad will always remain the dream of MAJORITY of Africans. Reasons: poor governace, inadequate infrastrutures, bottlenecks at the level get admission to State instutions (like the case or cameroon), discrimination etc. Few of us are fortunate to have reaslise that lots of opportunities do exist here, home. But if be chanced to advice, i`ll tell the young migrants `go abroad, study the whiteman`s book, come home and no matter what, how, when it takes to start your own biz or getting a job, just exercise the patience because life itself is patient. Thanks.

  • Comment number 2.

    With the social crisis deepening in my country I will jump at a chance at making life in the West.Logically no one will choose hell if heaven was another option. Laura Golakeh in Monrovia.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't believe living in africa is appreciated by our leaders because no matter one's qualification or contribution to the continent,our society recognizes anything foreign even if it's fake.however,the comparison between continents could only be made by those that have lived in continents.nevertheless,i prefer africa(where life is cheaper)to other continents.

  • Comment number 4.

    I don't believe living in africa is appreciated by our leaders because no matter one's qualification or contribution to the continent,our society recognizes anything foreign even if it's fake.however,the comparison between continents could only be made by those that have lived in continents.nevertheless,i prefer africa(where life is cheaper)to other continents.[Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 5.

    with the global economies in a flux, I think the best place now is Africa. I migrated to a developed country 3yr ago and what I got here is different from what I exspected. The cost of living is on the rise everyday with prices of commodities and other essential. Getting job to pay for your bills remain in question. What I paid for rent a week is equal to a month living home in Africa. The best thing to do is to find a job here in a developed country and go back to Africa to enjoy my proceed.

  • Comment number 6.

    i think that answering this question requires looking at the various actors that constantly consider moving abroad. For highly educated Westerners, Africa has become a fashionable destination. Due to decreased costs of living and the chance to save up a significant amount of your monthly check, many Westerners, in the light of the weak international financial system are seriously considering the African continent as a temporary work destination. With the constant growth of the development industry, many mid-level professionals with a sense of adventure find it appealing to go and live in Africa for a short period of time (1-5 years). As salaries in this particular industry are comparable to, let's say, the United States, yet living costs are dramatically lower, it is actually profitable to go and work in Africa.

    When it comes to young African professionals, at least in my research site in Tanzania, the overwhelming majority of them consider going abroad and are actively pursing this desire.
    This has to do mainly with I would call a "development bubble". Westerners working in Africa are only marginally affected by various shifts in local Africa politics. A coup would just bring them more money in their pockets (as NGOs and Un agencies are quick to label a coup as a hazardous destination for expats), but for their African counterparts that could seriously jeopardize their existence. In short, young African professionals are likely to be very frustrated at the various limitations that affect their lives while Westerners don't experience this problem. Consequently, it's likely that Africa will continue to be more fashionable to foreign professionals than local professionals (despite the fact that the two categories are comparable in terms of skills and abilities).

    This situation is also inherently dominated by a sense of hypocrisy. For example, Europeans always have a safe net to fall on - returning to their own countries if things go wrong on foreign land. But Africans don't always have that luxury so the desire to move abroad is followed by a sense of urgency and fears of security threats.

    In the light of the various tensions that are readily apparent to Africans on a daily basis, the elusive quest for personal and financial independence in the West is more alluring than living at home. Of course, many of them, know little about the difficult conditions of living abroad and the less subtle challenges (racism, sexism, xenophobia). Which proves that in fact neither the West nor Africa are ideal destinations. But possibilities which have to be carefully analyzed in the light of the trade-offs that such a move would entail.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    I came to Europe to do PhD, with the hope of realising my dreams in life. Now, after years in Europe, the colleagues I left back in Nigeria have all achieved many things I am still hoping some day I will achieve. Now, I am seriously thinking of going back home. I see many European graduates without jobs and this makes me think after my phd there is no hope for me in this dry land, the future is bleak here. African countries are booming with opportunities and I have seen a couple of Europeans sending their CVs to some African countries for hope of jobs. One or two I know got good jobs. Africa is no doubt my home. In Nigeria, no one would tell me I am an immigrant. With good education, I can reach any height I desire without any ceiling.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am yet to see which of these western countries that will give me the kind of oppotunities that i have here in Nigeria.Besides, am a free citizen paying my PAYE and enjoying all the goodies my country could ever provide for me. Thus,this made me a first class citizen. Unlike any of these western Countries where all these things are not possible but subjected to harsh treatment and sleeping with one eye close and one eye open.

  • Comment number 10.

    i have always say this and will continue to say it, no matter what home is home, i prefer taking less money in my country than going abroad to work as a slave.

  • Comment number 11.

    Living in Africa is not actually bad. Because it is a continent that has all the potentials it needs to make Africa a better living environment. But what I observe in the continent is the fact that most leaders are not creating the enabling conditions for people to have better lives.The living conditions are very terible, few employment facilities, poor health services and a host of these could affect a better living in the continent. So living in Africa would have been better if the enabling environment is created.Indeed if I've a better job,for example, I believe the living condition will be better. Let our leaders ceate better living conditions so that living in the continent will be better for her inhabitants.

  • Comment number 12.

    "If you don't know the value of what you have you will always sell it cheep" Because Africans have refused to see and add value on what we have, every one feels that migrating is the solution. Personally, it has never been my dream and will never because i know what Africa can offer me.
    With all the political problems here, it better to be here and contribute to the moral development of this great continent. I'm not sure i can easily fit in any other culture than the African; please guys let come back and save our land of our forefathers.

  • Comment number 13.

    There are no straight answers to the question because it all depends on how the person who wishes to migrate sees it. First because we still do not have an institutionalised government, it is hard to have effective practise directions in most African countries.

    The person who wishes to migrate might easily achieve his goals abroad because there is some degree of level playing field in terms of pursuing dreams and aspiration but this is not the case in most African countries. This said, we all know that "all that glitters is not gold". The possibility of achieving the goals involves the self aspiration of the person who has migrated.

    However as said above, if the degree of level playing field is the same in africa as in the West, migrating does not hold the same allure. Dreams can be easily achieved, realised and live are better off in African.

  • Comment number 14.

    I was in the UK for about 3yrs and six months. I came back home to Uganda in June 2006. To get me out of here now back to the UK (or anywhere in Europe) for anything other than a business or other short visit, you would have to find earth moving equipment. I remain in touch with compatriots who stayed behind and friends who are born/bred in UK. Some have visited me here. I see their wish whenever they have been here a short time...
    Some African countries are really not pretty, seriously. Uganda is not pretty in many respects. Public infrastructure is horrible. As in some developed countries, the politics is from the gutter. Healthcare for the many is non existent, but is readily available for those who can afford. Street children are all over. I'm not happy at all abt the glaring inequalities and injustices of life here, but i'm happy to do my bit in whatever way i can. The challenge is building as much stock of wealth for the country as possible, then after maybe a century our grand children can worry about fair distribution and social safety nets.
    For now opportunities to realise our dreams and live a satisfying life would appear more in Africa (east africa is good especially) than in Europe / America.

  • Comment number 15.

    Millions of young africans yarn to come to western countries,risking their lives crossing medetereanian sea by boats,or crossing atlentic ocean not for nothing but due to their government failures to prvide basic services to their own citizens.Frustration to explore thier interlectual potential african leaders hate some educated africans who has good ideas that bring equality and freedom to their respected countries. tribalism and nepotism and corruption is the cancer to african continent that hamper development.otherwise africa is the place to be. Patrick lasuba, Melbourne

  • Comment number 16.

    Things are very hard or difficult as the case maybe in Africa.In Nigeria now,to get money to feed ur family is not forthcoming,people cannot do business,the situation in Nigeria now is critical.That is the more reason,i can't blame anybody who wish to leave is country for greener pasture outside.

  • Comment number 17.

    Dear BBC

    Africa has everything for everyone but we have not yet tapped that potentiality because we oversee ourselves as failures. Just fancy from Cape to Cairo and from Labat to Nairobi, we have vast natural resources and all what Europe, America, Asia come here for. They exploit because we don't.

    East or West, home is best, don't we all say that. I come from Malawi, in particular, Nkhata-Bay, this stretch of land has vast resources, but, we the young have all migrated in town and some as far as South Africa and some even to Europe in search of that gold that we leave at Kande. Ask anyone who has been to this part of Africa, they will all tell you that, Nkhata-Bay has potential. Europeans have flooded this area and they have opened many beaches and this has made our area to be known as a lakeshore resort.These Europeans are making it big here.

    Unlike 20 years ago, Malawi has opened up. Ask any person in town - they will tell you, its an average man of say 20 to 30 years who are building empires in town. Small businesses have mushroomed and many young men are holding ambitious posts in various spheres of life. From degrees to doctorates, young men are being crowned and this is now forcing many elder personnel who did not have such higher education to go back to school and attain that required education.

    I don't see any reason to go and work abroad, unless if one goes to do higher education. And come back and settle and help to develop social-political-economic life here. Ask Goodluck Jonathan, he bears a good sermon to this testimony.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 18.

    its not really a given that going abroad betters anyone's lot.what spurs africans from going abroad stems from lack of citizenship,bad governance,absence of basic infrastructure and near absence of rule of law.sometimes the life some migrants live in africa is far better than what they experience abroad.its just that in most african countries most things dont just work.

  • Comment number 19.

    BBC, Afirca is the beast place you will ever live! It is being portrayed badly on television, but if you have lived in Africa and grew up there, you will see real Africa! the TV is not showing the real African life! People might be leaving africa to live in other countries because of money! if you dont have money in africa you cannot live there! No where in the world will you live life like you will live it in Africa! i was back in Zimbabwe a month ago and it was amazing! theres food water everything! you even have your own maid to clean up your mess! work from 8 -5 monday to friday and the rest of the time off!! in western countries u have to work work work work!! no time for rest or anything!
    Africa is the best! I will go back anyday!!

  • Comment number 20.

    africa is in dare need of all its children, we must therefore put all hands on deck to salvage africa.

  • Comment number 21.

    With the ongoing global economic crisis, things may not be as rosy as they used to be in a lot of developed countries. Having said that, the availability of basic infrastructures, such as: good road, running water and steady electricity in the developed countries - things which are often taken for granted, makes leaving Africa for any country in the West, still a better choice than suffering and smiling in Africa. Other than the basic infrastructures in some European countries, life is no better there than some African countries. The United States may be the exception.Although, there are a lot of business opportunities in Africa. But, unlike the United States, where one can apply for a business license or get the necessary support to start a business, one has to bribe every Tom, Dick and Harry to do simplest thing in most African countries. At certain level, who you know matters, whether you are in America or Africa. But, generally speaking, the average person does not have to bribe his/her way to get some basic things done in most developed countries especially the U.S.It is no wonder America remained the ultimate destination for most people around the world.

  • Comment number 22.

    The attraction and retention of the immigrants in the west is because of infrastructure developed through the initiatives of both individuals and the governments. It is unfortunate that many African immigrants feel ashamed of their motherland. The skills, knowledge, talent and resources owned by the immigrants remain backbone of the host country's economy and they are enticed to remain there as tax payers. What a fallacy?
    It is time and appropriate for the African immigrants to start investing in their rural villages as a way to lift them up and also give them visibility. Many governments across the globe will not invest in an area that has no potential of paying taxes; and it through such investments that we will attract government interest in our local areas. Why should a road or a bridge be built where there is no benefit? How about investing in higher institutions of learning that will attract people to the remote parts of a country? We are doing this social investment in rural western Kenya and is proving to be attractive and a success. It definitely will make young ones to want t go back there rather than live in slams.

  • Comment number 23.

    I honestly don't know the answer to this question. But I feel the most important word in considering ones options is 'opportunity'. I think that should be the main (and dare I say the only) motivating factor in that decision and not ideas such as working (as a slave or not) in another man country, or home is home. We sometimes work as slaves back home and home is where the heart (and family) is.
    I am a Nigerian currently working in the US. But unlike a lot of my friends I know, I would be willing to accept a position back home in Nigeria if I thought it clearly offered me better opportunities.. but I would also be just as willing to take a position in,.. Bangladesh, Siberia, Indonesia,.. Anywhere really if I thought it offered me more opportunities! I increasingly choose to see myself as citizen of the world rather than just an African.
    But then again, I am relatively young and so maybe this is just youthful exuberance coming to the fore!

  • Comment number 24.


  • Comment number 25.


  • Comment number 26.

    Africa is endowed with many good things some to mention are natural resources, great intelects, great humanly people but we always lacked the cabability or the will to advance and learn from the past. In order to slow the brain drain we needed to have strong institutions rather than strong leaders who manage to chase every sain mind out or into a corner.
    With the help of the international community and more education I wish to see the rule of law will become the rule of land all over our beloved African soil.
    May be then we will be able to have some sense out of the none sense and the plauge of tribalism, the strong militray generals who intimidate the week and honest. Then may be we can recokon with the institutional gangesters who rule the remaining week in our beloved soil.

  • Comment number 27.

    Dear BBC I think I will be better of in Africa if when and only African leaders with the help of some "foreigners" stop fanning political conflicts in Africa.

  • Comment number 28.

    Are U better of if Africa. I would say at the present climate, it is a big yes. Whatever one's situation in Africa, the truth and reality is it is actually bad for Africans to migrate to Europe from this point on. Historically what used to sustain African migrants even when they fail to achieve their big dream of gaining high education and decent jobs, there were always some sort of manual work. By the time they earn that, they were able to sustain themselves and send a good amount back home. No more. The financial crisis along with globalisation had brought wage prices at all time low -Inflation is high. Barely a day passes without European media shouting about immigration even though the vast majority of migration is taking place within the the EU hence legal. So all the jobs Africans traditionally occupied is going to the new migrants within the EU. Secondly, the suicidal risk that many sub-Saharan Africans take to reach " fortress Europe" is not worth the pain because there is nothing special happening here!!! No jobs, no permission to stay so why waste time, energy even lives. Rape, disease, torture, robbery is a very common occurrence enroute to Europe. Once here, most of the new comers are actually invalid suffering from lack of jobs and permit to stay leave many of my people with mental health problems. I just wish African governments take a leading role like that of South Korea and Taiwan to encourage development for their people. Give them small loans to start their own business, encourage inward thinking and promote your own country. There is also a tacit approval by African governments for the influx of their people outside their continent as it is actually a relief on the state to export a large unemployed force which could turn on the state when conditions get worse. This is another issue that needs addressing by the United Nation.

  • Comment number 29.

    As someone who has lived in the U.S. for almost twenty years after civil-war ravaged my native country, Somalia, so migrating to the West has been nothing less than a miracle, where I was able to rebuild my shattered life and pursue my higher education. However, over the years I became disillusioned and felt out of place in my newly adopted country, U.S. and started yearning to go back to the motherland (anywhere in Africa). During my frequent visits to the continent (Africa), I came to appreciate the many opportunities offered by the developing economies in that part of the world and cherished the kind, good-natured treatment of its people.
    In addition, I had the rude awakening that I couldn't be proud of who I was and what I represented as long as Africa was synonymous as the "Dark Continent," where 50% of most nations in the continent’s GDP relies on foreign aid, or simply put, Africa as the world's poorest inhabited continent.
    That said, Africa is relatively one of the best places to live and thrive, however, it lacks genuine leadership to alleviate its debilitating socio-economic tribulations and unless its enlightened sons and daughters in the West come back home and lead, the current worrisome status quo is bound to stay the same or get worse.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    African professionals are better staying in Africa.Going abroad exposes you to discrimination and racism.In the end,you might decide not to return to your home country because of the shame you shall face having failed to achieve your dreams abroad.Unfortunately,many Africans would disregard this advise and leave Africa hoping they would wave some magic wand, until it is too late for them to return home and they are already deeply trapped abroad

  • Comment number 32.

    Africa is the place to be no matter what we say,but we must understand that this continent has served as battle ground for the world super powers to the extend that people think its a continent of corpses and not the living.the world is becoming a global village so much that i think we can be in any place we deem fit.How ever africa is booming with opportunities as a cameroonian studying abroad my dream is to return home one day and get a good job,but this remains a dream were by our political situation looks precarious,making it difficult for young people to actually reach their full potentials,but it must be said that if africa is left alone from western interference this continent will be the eldorado of the world.This will make africa better off for me

  • Comment number 33.

    Africans are always going to see the West as the land of opportunity, but I think more people see the opportunities that are in Africa... I will say especially people who have had the chance to live abroad. I have lived and studied in the United States for years now and the moment I wrap up my Master's education this December, I am heading back home to Nigeria. I certainly gained a wonderful education while at the States, but I think that's about all this place has got to offer me.

  • Comment number 34.

    Dear BBC,
    I think going to the west to chase for your personal dreams is something in the minds of many african youths, African should not forget that many westerners in Africa are also coming to chase their own dream here in Africa. but what i know is that many africans love happy life, life with freedom that is why many of them leave their native land and settles abroad. but i dont think many of them are to chase thier future progress but to work and enjoy life.

    I have seen many sudanese going to the west but not to contribute in the building of their nation but to enjoy the free life in the free environment with only few thinking of building their own country.

    Clement Lochio Lomornana In Juba southern Sudan[Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 35.

    There is no doubt in mind that in indeed africa is a beautiful and God graced continent. More often than not, with resilience and head high, one can achieve whatever dream they have despite the hard reality that we have to face everyday of poor governance, corruption, mismanagement of funds, poor leadership and poverty. I feel the only reason, i would want to leave africa is no other than exposure and see how other people out there live.
    We can not deny that in Africa, life is very tough, at the same time we are saying out there life is too expensive and we are treated like slaves. For me, even in another life, i will still prefer to be born in Africa, where real issues are and where you realise your dreams at a price of hardwork, dedication, resilience, commitment and dedication. Go abroad and you will see that there's nothing to it apart from fancy roads,hotels, street lighting, shopping Malls, snow and so on. But if you are not interested in any of that and want to feel the sweet of your hard work, then Africa is a place to be for you.

  • Comment number 36.

    Are we better off in Africa?
    One is always better off where one's roots are. Unfortunately in the Homeland, colonial "Droit de naisse", "Privilege", "Have and Have not", and of course the big elephant in our mixt: "Corruption", have create systems that make it almost impossible to make a discent living in our motherland at time.
    In most of our African countries, it is almost a given that being from the elite governing family groups gatanties you success wheter deserved or not. You are accepted at the best schools regardless of grades, You are ushered to the best European schools all expenses paid for.

    The worst yet is when by some weird chance one is given the opportunity to go an obtain higher education abroad. Only to retun home with no opportunity for work. What a waste?

  • Comment number 37.

    dear bbc,this is not something that is hiden,is clearly seen by the westren world that,africa is still under going morden slevary in all aspect,economicaly,socially and the like,so is not something to talk about,we are sufferen,otherwise,there is no human being on this planet that want to suffer,aboard is heaven for us,senesie in monrovia

  • Comment number 38.

    As with anything in life, a proper plan is required. Make sure you have something tangible to offer (skill-wise) as well as stand to gain something from your host country, be it job or life experience. Home is best...as many have written here, so come back and transfer those skills when you've had enough of foreign parts.

  • Comment number 39.

    The correct answer to this question would be difficult to conclude.

    Africans who are having a tough time living in Africa would cherish an opportunity to reside in Europe because of the perceived belief of better welfare and hollywood life style.

    However, highly skilled African immigrants residing in Europe are keen about career opportunities that would see them return to Africa.

    The professionals miss home and want to use their acquired skills to improve the social infrastructure of their motherland because they understand that they are better off in Africa among Africans.

  • Comment number 40.

    In times of plenty, there are many advantages of working in the West. Unfortunately, my experience tells me that most Africans rarely achieve their potential in the West. I have seen engineers working as social workers or nurses. Surely, this is wasteful.

    In an ideal World,one would be better off in Africa doing what one trained for and fulfilling one's potential. However, for several reasons already stated, we do not live in an ideal World and our African leaders have not created a conduscive environment for this to happen. Until that happens, I am afraid most Africans will seek ways of making it in the West despite the difficulties.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi BBC,with the level of corruption and the "i don't care attitude" displayed in my country,if i have the chance,going abroad will be the best for me. From Rowdav

  • Comment number 43.

    If we had good leadership/ good governance then without a shadow of a doubt, we would be better off in Africa.

    Where do i start, Back home in Africa, our food is fresh, no additives, E numbers, our weather is beautiful, we have languagues, culuture, tradition, respect for our elders, teachers, authority, a thirst for knowledge and education.There is a spirit of community, people know their neighbours.I/ we will not be subject to racism.

    Contrast this to what we find in the West, Black children are often the worst performers in school, our children are fed a healthy dose of garbage from the media, teachers have no authority in the classroom and our kids grow up unable to speak write or read properly. Crime is rewarded with a luxurious short stay in prison and sentencing that makes a mockery of the so called legal system. Oftentimes, Black people will be found to be living in the worst housing conditions

    We were led to believe that education would/ will open doors for us which it does or will, however, please show me any Black CEO or Major General or Senior Judge in the UK today.

    Black people have become so confused so that now that if one is educated, one is described as trying to be White,the so called role models that are put forward are rap stars and footballers who struggle to put forward a coherent grammatically correct sentence in English.

    Teenage Mums and Dads are the norm living off the state and yet contributing nothing but anti - social behaviour to society, challenge such behaviour and you either end up dead or in prison.

    Our schools/ univerities are producing at times, semi - illiterate students/ graduates who have no knowledge or life skills and we as a society discard anyone past forty and are fixated with youth ( Youf culture).

    Is Africa perfect, not by a long shot, however, if the problems of corruption, tribalism and poor leadership could be sorted out then definitely, Africa beats Europe/ The West any day of the week.

  • Comment number 44.

    It is all about the search for something better in life. If life is easier abroad than at home in Africa, is that not reason enough to want to remain abroad? It is a hard but true fact that many things are not in place in Africa, from education to Politics to social security and so on. The West may not exactly be the gate of heaven, but we must agree that there are so many things in order here in the West. Besides, traveling to other parts of the world, particularly the West raises our (Africans) sense of decorum, order, discipline and general exposure.

  • Comment number 45.

    Home (Africa) would have been better off if our leaders have taken every aspect of its people seriously. I had an opportunity to come to the U.S. to fulfill my goals and aspirations, but what I have seen makes me pondered if there are really hopes and aspirations I have ever wanted.

    What makes the western world different are stable education (no strikes), stable electricity, water, security of life and property.

    However, I just want to get my education and get out of here – I can help build my country, and my continent. There are more dreams at home than the shadow dreams we are chasing that would never arrived – youth seriously needs mentor and role models.

  • Comment number 46.

    To the best of my knowledge a hard work pays on earth and in heaven. no matter where one finds himself, if you work hard you see the proceeds. I know there are better opportunities in the west but a hard working person in africa will enjkoy life more than a billionaire outthere. here there is free, natural water, clean air, no noise,etc. in the west you pay for using clean water and you pay for using or trowing dirty water. africa is still and will remain a better place. Please no sour grape concept here.

  • Comment number 47.

    I left South Africa 24 years ago and it was the best decision I have ever made. South Africa, that is supposed to be the model country, is a mess. Murders, rapes,break-ins, corruption ... the story of Africa, why would anyone in his/her right mind decide to stay in Africa. Twenty years after the ANC has taken over, it is the same old story. Whatever atrocities took place under the National Party, are now taking place under ANC rule. America, my new home, is far from being perfect, but at least I can sleep at night. To any African who wishes to leave, I say: Do so, BUT do it legally and: good luck. It is tough initially, but worth it.

  • Comment number 48.

    The motherland is beautiful place. People will not leave unless they have to. African leaders here's a thought for you. Curb down on corruption, empower you young, intellingent, highly educated and hard-working people and create jobs. You will see all of them flocking back home. We love it back home, wanna stay back home and wanna live our lives back home. But after studying for 5 years (your family sometimes paying a huge price for you to become educated) there are no jobs. What do you want the young ones to do. We are responsible for ourselves, our siblings and are our parents pension. So, you do what is necessary. Even if it means leaving your beloved ones behind, going abroad and working at McDonalds with your MBA. Life is no joke.

  • Comment number 49.

    Its better to be in a western country and manage than being back in Africa and suffer because of a number of reasons.Like in Cameroon, if you are not Beti,or supporting the CPDM party,just know that hell is better. I was born in 1976 and grew up hearing the same names as directors and ministers some with triple posts when thousands with good qualifications die.Ministers and bigmen take all money for three months vacation and yet are there pleading for financial aide from Developed countries.To go ENAM,CUSS,IRIC,explore timber etc are the CPDM and Beti affair and I donot know the real definition of demracracy like it is known in Cameroon-no human rights,infact all of french colonies are a mess.So than suffer in my country,let it be in another continent

  • Comment number 50.

    Like Tereka, most African migrants get stuck in nothingness abroad. I would only jet out if I got better thing to do across the Atlantic.

  • Comment number 51.

    well from my own point of view if we all the creative and knowledgeable personnel left for greennar pastures who will develop africa? people need to come back and give back there knowhaw in africa. a black man is the most interligent and strongest amoung all god creations there fore, lets help each other in other africa can be the world economic supper power. we are better of in africa than any other its because of our own self intrest thats why we are still slaves under the wites.

    lets come back and give back africa our mother land (united stated of africa insallah).

  • Comment number 52.

    well we ve to note that we are not going to stay there forever, leaving africa means we ourselfs are making africa to be poorer whiles making them richer.
    we can make cars back home
    we can make plains back home
    we can build sky scrapers back home
    we can build space machins back home
    we can make africa the leading exports in goods and services because god have given us a climate that is soooo good to agriculture.

    there fore, lets go back to the land [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 53.

    Any wise African will jump at the offer of migrating abroad, or how else would one explain the influx of even our leaders abroad for medical treatment, holidaying,studies etc.

    They know what it takes to make Africa look like the West, but they will never do that because they will always jump there at the slightest headache because they can afford it. Give me the opportunity to travel to the West, and you would be surprised am going to nationalize there and never come back here.

  • Comment number 54.

    It is a matter of personal experience. I've seen enough of europe and I live in Nigeria. I will never leave Nigeria for any other country except for a short period of study or training. If you've been in Africa all your life you are in no position to deliberate helpfully on this matter. Those Africans who have succeeded in the west are aware that with their material wealth life would be so much sweeter in Africa. Don't be deceived Emigrating to the west is not the answer. Stay at home and offer your best to better your country. If we all leave whom do we expect to repair our country? eh? there may be no tramways, cute trains, skycrapers etc allover my country but it serves me just fine. I am a 26 year old medical doctor who was born and bred and schooled in Nigeria, I can afford to have a vacation anywhere in the world (and my father hasn't stolen government money)...I live a good life, Here in Nigeria. Don't be fooled, if we work half as hard as our 'immigrant' brothers do in the west we'll be rich too...the problem is we expect a good life at no cost. Life is never like that. Do yourself a favour, open your eyes to the opportunities in your homeland, then you'll see that emigration wouldn't be the key; in fact, it is like selling your soul.

  • Comment number 55.

    I have no doubt that one is always better off in one's own country. I personally have never bothered to join the bandwagon of the 'brain drain' generation of people dreaming of good life in Europe and America. I have consistently maintained that we can do more good staying back in Africa. With all sense of humility, I doubt if any of my mates staying abroad can claim to hold the 'bragging right' over me in terms of achievement. I don't work for government and I am not a contractor but I can afford to do anything I like when I like and how I like it. And I am not owing a dime to anyone! The kind of work and stress that our brothers go through abroad can make them multi-millionaires half the time and half the stress in Nigeria for example. For example, if you choose to set up a cleaning company in Nigeria, literally speaking, you will die making money! The tax system is not bad and you will be contributing to the economy of the nations. Only education, official visit and holidays can bring me to Europe. I do not have the patience to suffer the humiliation of joblessness!

  • Comment number 56.

    All is well in Africa,if all the Multinational companies are moving to Africa,and all the Europeans and other western countries are investing in Africa then does it not make sense that we as Africans should be in the forefront? Therefore i say we can all realise our Western dreams right here in Africa,amen. Godbless all.

  • Comment number 57.

    Dear BBC,
    Your question is good but, how can life be better off in Africa. In the general sense of it all is good that we Africans stay in our continent and manage our resources but, other continent's in the world will never leave African alone. there are reasons and its best know to me. you guyz confused Africans and gave us your life style and it is better you guyz help us to repair our continent. Thanx.

  • Comment number 58.

    I am commenting after reading the story "End of a dream" about African immigrants in the US leaving to go back home.

    While reading the story I realised there are indeed different kinds of immigrants, the legal and illegal. There are also the highly skilled or educated and those who are not. Illegal immigrants always have a tougher time for obvious reasons.

    The situation for legal immigrants who are either skilled or unskilled varies. For each dismal story, there is a success story. While living in the US, I realised that the fate of many legal immigrants e.g. those who won the green card also depends on their skillset. It also depends on the connections they had or were able to make when they land in the U.S.
    Most of the ones I know without a college degree or skill that is in demand work in jobs where they are paid hourly. They are also juggling school and family responsibilities. This leaves little time to rest and hence the stress. Sometimes the money they make can barely cover the bills so saving or taking a vacation to visit Africa is hard. In contrast, there are those who come to America with a degree or a skill that is in high demand. If they are able to secure a job that pays well with the potential for growth, usually they are happier than they were in Africa.

    It would be interesting to see how many in the last category are going home PERMANENTLY i.e. those in the highly skilled/educated bunch.By highly educated I mean either Masters or PhD. In my opinion, probably not that many. It's not that they do not love Africa but that they are not sure how they would fit in the continent if they went back. The West continues to provide career prospects that may not be there back home. Africa continues to produce many talented graduates who graduate into economies that do not have any jobs for them. It leads to dissatisfaction, anger and instabilility see Tunisia, Egypt etc. The continent needs their expertise but it is not being harnessed. This is why they leave-for better OPPORTUNITY. Increasingly they see themselves as citizens of the world. They love their homeland but the chance to get ahead in the U.S. or anywhere else has a greater pull.

  • Comment number 59.

    I have lived in the U.S. for 18 years and still feel like an outsider. We came to the country with 3 children, a suitcase each and $500 to our name. We have worked very, very hard and have sacrificed a lot. My husband was gone 242 days last year for his job. Undocumented workers are given medical and educational benefits, but citizens have to do without. We lost a whole lot of our pension when it was stolen by Enron. We do not have much retirement now, but more than most who were in the same position. I work for a job without ANY benefits and earn $4.00 less an hour than I did in 2003. I am thinking long and hard about returning home to my Mother Africa, where people are genuine and are your friends because they like you, not because they can benefit for themselves from the friendship. The life here is about "keeping up with the Jones's" but people do not realise how unhappy the "Jones's really are, or how much money they owe to their debtors.

  • Comment number 60.

    Not every legal African immigrant in the US is having a hard time. They may not particularly be living "the American dream" that family/friends/peers back in Africa assume they are living, but none the less they are not struggling as such and enjoy a lifestyle and opportunities that may otherwise not have been available to them or their children back in Africa. Personally, I am one such African immigrant, and I answer that no, my life would not be better off back in Africa.

  • Comment number 61.

    The grass is always greener on the other side,

    until you get there and realise;

    it is a mirage.

  • Comment number 62.

    I wouldn't necessarily say 'west' but what I would say is 1st world countries are best. In these countries we are not confronted with as much violence and general lawlessness. None of us want to live in an unlawful state. But we are here where the most unlawful and corrupt governments opperate. Everyone want the same things in life : 'A decent education, a good job, and hardworking government (working towards the correct goals, not their own), and safe place we can call home, and access to good medical care if our loved ones are ill. To obtain these things in Africa is nigh impossible. Unless you have money. And most of us don't. In a 1st world country these things are reality, not just for wealthy people. After so many years of corruption and war in many parts, it's unlikely Africa will catch up to the 1st world powers in the next 50 years. Maybe not west, but 1st world coutries are the best for sure.

  • Comment number 63.

    One thing remains clear to me With all its sham, tribalism, corruption, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful continent. Mine you! "you can only compare two things, its an experience, an education, and even fun to go abroad with the good intention of achieving a gold or any of the above reason pushing African abroad but it's inevitable that human migration will always have a changing factor with time. After all the dangers broad to our ecosystem with industrialization and the recent break down of the global economy, its now time for Africa to starts getting more migrants as jobs will loom in the field of Ecosystem Restoration in the near future and the possibility of cheaper means of leaving in the continent. For nature will come to play for Africa as any man made evil plaguing the continent will be dealt with and nature will take it's course.

  • Comment number 64.

    As a young African professional, I am deeply frustrated by the situation in my country Kenya. While my dream was to contribute to my mother continent, deeply entrenched corruption, sexism, nepotism and political unrest have discouraged me to the point where I feel that I am wasting my life and talent. I am actively searching for an opportunity to live and work outside the continent just to afford the opportunity of a peaceful life without fear of wars and rumours of war. Yes, home is best, but I will just have to love Africa from a distance.

  • Comment number 65.

    It will be a cold night in hell before I desire to move abroad. As an excited and adventurous youth, I did fill the green card form in two consecutive years in the 90s. Looking back almost 20 years later, and what I have been able to achieve in my own country, I can't fathom how silly I was. Forever in my country Kenya.

  • Comment number 66.

    Thanks for all your comments

  • Comment number 67.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator] Staying back at home is the best.

    Going abroad is characterized with too many uncertainties; high cost of living, expensive stay papers ...

    It is for our leaders to be the role models we desire, to show the much needed goodwill that is required for the development of a community.This can be done by drawing up constitutions that do not permit leaders to become rulers or rule for life.

    Thus staying home is the best; the land is vast, housing is cheap, bills are cheaper, ...

  • Comment number 68.

    I was born in the African Diaspora and live here also. I wish I could be in the Motherland day after day, and will one day.
    My view is that the people of Africa and the African Diaspora, must seek a way for us to build our nation (the African people) once again. The African nation should encourage the people of the African Diaspora to invest, this should incentives to do so.
    I wish to be in the most beautiful continent in the world, build Africa (economically), DON'T LEAVE it for them to make it into a part of the "New World".

  • Comment number 69.

    it saddens me to see fellow africans jump at the slightest idea of moving to western countries. i have never been to the us or uk and can only go there if i go as a tourist. all i could ever need is right here in africa. having been educated in africa, born and bred, why should i think the grass is greener in america or across the seas? i have seen people who have left and come back with just fancy clothes and no real investment to show and have found that us who have stayed have built homes and put in a little investments, i have known men with Phds going to mop the floors in us banks, now tell me if thats greener pasture. if we work hard right where we are, we dont need to travel abroad and do odd jobs, jobs we can never do in our own countries. if you leave for political asylum, its ok but i would advise you look for another african country where you can seek asylum than go face racism.

  • Comment number 70.

    No matter the situation in my country Ghana, I do not think it will be a wise decision to jump onto a plane or ship for Europe or the Americas or wherever. I prefer struggling in Ghana, than being a "slave" in another country. From stories I hear and read about I can't be running away from the police because I don't have the right to stay or work in another mans country. No i will die in my country Ghana.

  • Comment number 71.

    I only in my 20s and I can't speak for every African country or even a whole country, I can only speak for Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria and compare them to where I currently reside, here in the UK.

    I had a great life when I lived in Lagos. My parents are successful entrepreneurs there and I lived in great area and went to the best schools but guess what? I remember seeing dead bodies on the way to school that had been dismembered and left to be run over by cars on the unlit night roads, having to cope with either incredible heat or a very loud generator during the hottest parts of the year when we were without electricity for weeks on end, laying in bed petrified with a pillow over my head listening to the sounds of armed robbers bullets at the house a few doors down from me, seeing mentally disabled people left to roam the streets naked and uncared for and a hundred other daily frustrations and horrors.

    Traveling to visit out-of-state relatives in the countryside was literally a life threatening feat as you would have to negotiate terrible roads, corrupt gun-weilding police men and road blocks set up by armed bandits alike.

    On top of all this children are treated more or less like possessions and are almost never believed over an adult. Needless to say to least 80% of the Nigerians I know, male or female, were sexually molested as children in some way and 100% were physically abused.

    I have lived in the UK for 10 years now and though I often miss 'home' I can't bear to spend more than a few weeks in Lagos. Things have improved since I left but prices have sky rocketed even faster than in London and managing what should be simple every day tasks is still a nightmare as issues with security and basic utilities are HUGE! The only other place I have tried to live in within Nigeria is Abuja which is a hundred times better in almost every way (though you pay a huge premium for it). However I would never be fully at peace because of my experiences of tribal/ religious tensions leading to riots in Lagos. I am a Southerner and wouldn't have a hope of escape if such riots broke out in Abuja which is still largely populated by Northern muslims.

    Here I can travel anywhere in the country with ease and without fear and though I experience racism now and then I certainly don't live in fear of being hacked to death by a machete or having my home burnt down for speaking in the wrong accent or going to Church. I have a great job and can go out at any time of the day or night alone as a woman.

    A lot of the time i do feel guilty about leaving but for now that just isn't enough to make me go back. I'm still quite politically active, run small businesses that emply people and support a number of charities back in Nigeria but the world is a global village now so I don't see any benefit in actually living in the chaos.

    If your life abroad is worse than what you left behind then by all means go back but mine is fine thanks.

  • Comment number 72.

    If I knew what I know now, I NEVER would have left Africa! Nigeria is greener than where I am. I'll take erratic power supply. I will take the dusty roads, I will take the lack of water supply... because my dignity would have been preserved.

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes, living here (in Africa) can be quite frustrating. No water or electricity, bad roads, poor healthcare, ancient educational systems, systems simply not working, infrastructure mostly non-existent. But I love my home. It's this western thinking that has made those places seem more attractive. For more comfort many, not all, but many Africans trade in their didnity. People stoop to all kinds of lows to go to Europe or America and brag when they do.
    We may lack the things that make life easier, but surveys from a few years ago (need to check recent ones) say Nigerians were the world's happiest people. I dare you to check out the rate of depression and suicide and compare it with that in most African countries.

    For me life makes sense. You're part of something. You have a family, roots, a foundation. You have values outside of getting more and more. Even though sadly, the urban youth are becoming more and more about acquiring things and popularity. Here you have your dignity, you are somebody and can make a difference. We've been through so much pain and ugliness and are not bitter. Discontentment with the leaders but not yet bitter.


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