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JAMES WAKIBIA – The Long War Against Plastic Carrier Bags – The Elephant

The 2017 ban on plastic bags, which won Kenya international applause, did not come out of the blue. It came after a decade of sustained pressure from citizens and lobby groups who had had enough of the devastating effects of plastics.
According to the Earth Policy Institute, the world uses an estimated two million plastic bags every minute; they are used for about 12 minutes before being tossed away. Often, these bags wind up in landfills where they will take up to one 100 years to break down or, worse, end up as environmental pollutants – littering streets, hanging from to trees, clogging drains, polluting water bodies and choking the earth. This characterizes Kenya’s unpleasant relationship with plastic bags, particularly before the country finally banned the manufacture and use of single-use plastic bags in 2017.
The Kenyan government had since 2005 made several attempts to ban plastic bags. However, the efforts failed each and every time mainly due to the efforts of plastic manufacturers who consistently resisted being run out of business, both independently and through the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), a powerful industry lobby group comprising the largest local manufacturers.
For years, the government has collaborated with environmental agencies such as the United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP) to combat the challenges associated with plastic waste, in particular the extensive environmental damage plastic bags have wrought on Nairobi, once celebrated as the “Green City in the Sun”.
Kenya’s battle with plastic bags goes back to the early 2000s when international news outlets exposed the hazards of plastic following reports of the pervasive practice of defecating in plastic bags in Nairobi’s informal settlements, a practice infamously dubbed “flying toilets” or “scud missiles”. Due to pressure by environmental activists, the government worked with UNEP to publish a report that recommended a ban on thin plastic bags and the imposition of a levy on thicker bags.
The appointment of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Prof. Wangari Maathai as Assistant Minister for Environment in 2003 was a highlight in Kenya’s journey towards banning plastic bags as it underscored the commitment of then President Mwai Kibaki and his government to protect the environment. Preceding her appointment and after she left the government, Prof. Maathai was a fierce and crucial public voice against plastic waste.
In 2005, the government made its first attempt at banning plastic bags by prohibiting the manufacture and sale of those with a thickness of under 30 microns. The administration, led by President Kibaki, also developed a 10-point plan to reduce plastic pollution, with the promise of funding alternative, environmentally friendly carrier bags.
Despite the government’s apparent determination to ban plastic bags, the sluggish implementation of the ban was raising concerns. The structural power of businesses shone through in narratives challenging the ban. Plastic bag producers and traders protested the impending ban, arguing that it would trigger extensive job losses associated with the manufacture, supply and distribution of plastic bags.
Interestingly, at some point, Kenya’s environmental body, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) sided with the manufacturers, declaring that the implementation of the ban would result in job losses for more than 4,000 Kenyans.
A second attempt was made in 2007, with the government outlawing the manufacture of plastic bags of less than 30 microns and imposing a 120 per cent excise duty (green tax) on permitted plastic bags. The move was poorly received by traders who protested and threatened to pass on the extra manufacturing costs of the thicker plastic bags to consumers. In 2011, NEMA announced a more elaborate plastic bag ban, outlawing the manufacture of plastic bags below a thickness of 60 microns, once again eliciting protests among traders.
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) sided with the manufacturers, declaring that the implementation of the ban would result in job losses for more than 4,000 Kenyans.
While the instrumental power of these businesses was ineffective in blocking anti-plastic bag legislation, their structural power and the continued advocacy of industry lobby groups influenced the decision to impose a restricted implementation of the ban.
However, between 2010 and 2014, Kenya’s annual plastic production expanded by a third, reaching 400,000 tonnes, further fuelling pressure by local activist groups, global environmental agencies such as UNEP, the press and the public for a ban on plastic bags through the popular social media hashtags #BanPlasticsKE and #IsupportBanPlasticsKE. Importantly, the movement gained the support of the then Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Judy Wakhungu, who tweeted in support of banning plastic bags.
As Kenya continued to urbanise, so did its plastic waste grow. Data shows that Kenya produces around 4.5 million tonnes of solid waste each year and the amount is expected to double in the next decade.
Before the introduction of the ban on plastic bags, grocery stores and other retail outlets handed out over 100 million bags each year, despite Kenya’s lack of an adequate waste disposal infrastructure to keep the bags out of the environment.
A government-supported study further highlighted the far-reaching consequences of plastic bags, revealing that more than half of all cattle reared near cities and towns had plastic in their stomachs while in Nairobi some slaughterhouses were removing up to 30 plastic bags from slaughtered cows.
In 2016, authorities at Lake Nakuru National Park collected 24 tonnes of plastic from the lake and its rangelands, the grazing fields for the park’s herbivores.
The same year, authorities acknowledged that solid waste disposal posed a major challenge for Nairobi, which produces more than 2,600 tonnes of waste daily. The city has more than 160 private-sector waste operators, each acting independently amid the government’s poor regulation and wanting enforcement of environmental laws.
In 2016, authorities at Lake Nakuru National Park collected 24 tonnes of plastic from the lake and its rangelands, the grazing fields for the park’s herbivores.
In 2017, the excessive pressure mounted on the government finally overcame the sustained resistance of plastic bag manufacturers. The ban on plastic bags came into effect on 28 August 2017, threatening serious consequences including up to four years’ imprisonment or fines of US$40,000 for anyone producing, selling or even carrying a plastic bag.
However, the plastics industry objected the imminent ban, using its instrumental power to influence policy decisions through KAM, which opposed the ban by arguing that if implemented, it would cost 60,000 jobs, force 176 manufacturers to shut down, and deny the country the opportunity to earn revenue through exports of plastic bags.
Manufacturing and agribusiness companies outside the plastics sector also expressed worry over the effects of the ban to their business given that plastic materials provided them with cheap packaging for their products.
Retailers were also hesitant to welcome the plastic bag ban, fearing incurring additional costs given that environmentally-friendly bags such as cloth and paper bags are costlier than plastic bags.
These businesses were particularly critical of UNEP’s influence in the ban on plastic bags, arguing that the involvement of the agency forced the largely pro-business Kenyan government to impose the ban, hurting local businesses in the process.
Before implementing the ban, the government gave plastic manufacturers a six-month window within which to comply but KAM officials argued that government policy was too stringent and denied companies — which had for decades invested in the production of plastic and employed thousands of Kenyans — an opportunity to voice their concerns. As KAM actively negotiated with the government to minimise the severity of the ban and create more allowances for manufacturers, Hi-Plast, a local plastic bag manufacturer, filed a lawsuit against the government demanding compensation.
Traders also joined in the manufacturers’ protest and filed a petition at the High Court to block the implementation of the ban. Like the manufacturers, the traders decried lack of adequate stakeholder consultation, warning that the ban would be detrimental to the economy.
However, the High Court ruled against both the manufacturers and the traders, arguing that the rights of over 40 million Kenyans to a clean environment could not be tilted in favour of the commercial interests of a section of plastic bags dealers.
In his ruling of 25 August 2018, Environment and Land Court Judge Bernard Mweresa stated, “Granting the orders sought will severely undermine the protection of the environment while serving commercial interests.”
As the ban on plastic bags came into force, government representatives explained that, rather than consumers, plastic bag manufacturers and retailers would be the initial targets of the new law. In the wake of the ban, the media was awash with reports of countrywide crackdowns and arrests of those still manufacturing or selling plastic bags. Nairobi’s Burma Market, one of the city’s largest markets, was shut down because of widespread non-compliance with the ban.
Nearly five years later, Kenya’s plastic bag ban has proven to be largely successful, but the smuggling of plastic bags from neighbouring countries has emerged as a notable challenge.
The ban on plastic carrier bags also paved the way for the prohibition of single-use plastics in protected areas including national parks, forests and beaches in June 2020.
“Granting the orders sought will severely undermine the protection of the environment while serving commercial interests.”
Despite losing most of their plastic manufacturing business, manufacturers such as the Ramco Group of Companies and Bobmil Industries obtained special clearance to manufacture a limited number of plastic bags for the local food processing industry, which are permitted under the plastic bag ban.
While some plastic bag manufacturers were able to continue with their operations, many were forced to lay off thousands of workers. Manufacturers claimed that they had to let go between 62 per cent and 90 per cent of their workforce, while KAM argued that the ban had a much more significant effect on job losses across the manufacturing, retail and agro-processing sectors.
However, businesses have accepted the turning tides. Although some businesses continue to see the ban as unfair or argue that it functions as a block to industrialisation, many recognise that plastics cannot be a long-term investment amid the growing climate change concerns.
Kenya has also progressed by adopting plastic bag alternatives on a large scale. Following the ban on plastic bags, and despite the government’s failure to fulfil its promise of providing incentives for businesses investing in alternatives to plastic bags, several local companies saw an opportunity and began producing bags out of more sustainable materials. Some organisations are taking their sustainability efforts further. They include companies like Energy Solutions, which plans to shape a circular economy in the plastics industry by producing synthetic oil from plastic waste.
While Rwanda was the first country in East Africa to ban plastic bags in 2008, adopting a law banning all single-use plastics in 2019, there is no doubt that Kenya’s move to implement the ban on plastic bags has inspired similar efforts in the other East African countries.
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Rwandan dissidents have claimed that President Paul Kagame has used dirty tactics to go after his critics abroad. Now, a classified FBI report obtained by OCCRP confirms that Rwanda has been conducting “poison pen” operations on American soil for years.
When Paul Rusesabagina left his Texas home in August 2020, he believed he was traveling to the East African nation of Burundi for a speaking tour. But on a layover in Dubai, the famed human rights activist was diverted onto a private plane, flown to his native Rwanda, and detained on dubious terrorism charges.
In an interview with the Guardian, Rwandan President Paul Kagame described the operation that lured his 68-year-old critic out of the U.S. as “flawless.”
The elaborate kidnapping plot that entrapped Rusesabagina sparked international outrage; the world knew him as the subject of the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda,” which feted him for saving the lives of more than 1,000 people who sought refuge in the hotel he managed during the country’s 1994 genocide. But it was only the latest in a decades-long crusade of harassment, threats, assassination attempts, and smear campaigns orchestrated by the Rwandan regime, according to a lawsuit filed by the Rusesabagina family in a Washington, D.C., court.
For years, Rwandan dissidents have claimed that Kagame has used unscrupulous tactics to go after his foreign-based critics — including filing false charges and abusing the Interpol red notice arrest warrant system, a policy that Freedom House calls “transnational repression.” Prominent dissidents have even been assassinated in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and Mozambique.
Lecture by Paul Rusesabagina, as part of the IPC commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide,March 27, 2014. Photo: Flickr/University of Michigan’s Ford School
Now, a classified FBI report obtained by OCCRP confirms that U.S. law enforcement has long known of Rwandan intelligence operations against civilians on its soil, including the targeting of Rusesabagina, a U.S. permanent resident, as early as 2011. The report also reveals the U.S. government knew as early as 2015 that agents of the Rwandan government had repeatedly attempted to mislead and co-opt U.S. law enforcement to target Kagame’s critics.
Despite this, the U.S. government is Rwanda’s largest bilateral donor, with $147 million handed over to Kigali in fiscal year 2021.
Written in the build-up to Kagame’s re-election to a third seven-year term, the 2015 FBI report warned top American diplomats that Rwanda was using its intelligence services to spread disinformation in the U.S. about Rwandan asylum seekers and opposition members. Its tactics included “providing poison pen [intentionally false or misleading] information to U.S. law enforcement agencies concerning alleged criminal violations through the use of double agents, as well as attempting to manipulate U.S. government immigration law and the Interpol Red Notice System,” the FBI concluded.
One recipient of the FBI’s report was Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who was an assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs at the time. Her office did not respond to questions sent by email.
“Virtually any country that has an oppressive enough government to create dissidents who would flee to the West are going to engage in operations against those dissidents,” retired FBI agent and counterintelligence expert Todd K. Hulsey told OCCRP, citing Russia, China, and Cuba as examples.
But “it is not normal for a partner nation, and certainly not an ally, to run a poison pen operation on American soil,” he said.
The FBI report said that a number of dissidents were targeted, including Rusesabagina.
In 2011, nine years before he was kidnapped, the Rwandan government made a formal request to U.S. authorities to investigate Rusesabagina for his alleged support of militants in Central Africa.
This was a common allegation against the regime’s detractors. Between 2012 and 2014 the  FBI investigated people affiliated with the U.S.-based Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an anti-Kagame opposition group, after the Rwandan government alleged that it was supporting Central African terrorists but found no evidence of criminal activity.
However, the FBI report said its investigations were “consistently hindered” by Rwandan intelligence services “operating double-agents in the United States who were providing mis-information to investigating agents.”
Rwandan intelligence services sought to use an intermediary to plant “derogatory information” that would discredit RNC members, with the goal of getting them deported, the FBI report said. The intermediary confessed to working on some 40 individual cases. The person also provided false information alleging that RNC officials were plotting to kill Kagame in 2011 while he was on a visit to the U.S..
The FBI and U.S. State Department declined to comment. A Rwandan government spokesperson did not respond to questions.
The Rwandan government also manipulated Interpol — an international policing body based in France — and its red notice system to get foreign law enforcement agencies to go after its targets.
Léopold Munyakazi, a former trade union official in Rwanda, moved to the U.S. in 2004 and later taught French at a private liberal arts college in Maryland while waiting for political asylum.
The Rwandan government asked Interpol to issue red notices for him in 2006 and 2008 after he criticized the government, and U.S.-based Rwandan diplomats and intelligence officials monitored Munyakazi’s activities between 2011 and 2013, according to the FBI report. But Rwanda’s allegations against Munyakazi were inconsistent, first claiming that the dissident was a member of the RNC, then saying he was wanted on charges related to the genocide.
U.S. immigration authorities investigated Munyakazi and deported him in 2016 for suspected human rights violations, despite the fact that the 2015 FBI report said the investigation was “almost certainly” compromised by a Rwandan intelligence agent, and cast doubt on the allegations. In Rwanda, he faced trial on genocide charges and was sentenced to life in prison — only to be cleared of atrocities a year later and re-sentenced to nine years for “downplaying the genocide,” according to multiple media reports.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not respond to questions.
Even senior officials can be targeted: Eugène Richard Gasana was Rwanda’s permanent representative to the United Nations until he disagreed with changes Kagame made to Rwanda’s constitution in 2015 that cleared his way for a third term in power. Gasana knew he couldn’t return to his homeland and settled in New York, his lawyer told OCCRP.
Eugène-Richard Gasana, then Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (front left) during a 2015 event. Photo: Flickr/UN
Soon he was being accused of supporting rebel groups. His lawyer told a New York court that the U.S. investigated these allegations and did not find them credible, while an internal Interpol document about Gasana’s case indicated the policing body found the charges to be politically motivated.
Then, he was accused of rape by a Rwandan woman who had interned in his office at the U.N. several years earlier. New York law enforcement investigated the criminal complaint but did not find a basis on which to bring criminal charges, according to a subsequent Interpol investigation. The accuser is now suing Gasana in New York over the same allegations.
In 2020, Interpol issued a red notice when the Rwandan government recycled the same charges. Gasana challenged the notice, arguing that the charges were political. The internal Interpol review obtained by OCCRP also concluded that there was “a predominant political dimension” to Rwanda’s case against Gasana, and that Interpol “may be perceived as facilitating politically motivated activities.”
“They manipulated Interpol. They snuck the arrest warrant into the system but we were able to get it deleted,” Gasana’s lawyer Charles Kambanda told OCCRP. He’s now representing Gasana in the civil litigation in New York, and speculates that after the Rwandan government failed in its efforts to go after Gasana through law enforcement, its intention now “is probably to bankrupt him.”
“Litigation in New York is damn expensive. We’ve been on the civil case for three years now. They always find some reason to delay the case since they know they don’t have a substantive case against him, so they use procedural tricks to keep the case going,” said Kambanda. “They’ve hired a lot of lawyers — I’m fighting five law firms I think. One of them, a lawyer, is representing Kagame in the case against Rusesabagina’s family.”
Will Hayes, a lawyer at U.K. law firm Kingsley Napley who represents clients fighting extradition requests and challenging Interpol red notices, told OCCRP the current system is “open to abuse.”
“The effects of red notices are so onerous and significant compared to the ease with which they can be issued,” said Hayes. “This highlights the disparity between the power of the authorities that request them and the subject who then has to deal with the consequences.”
The minimum requirements for issuing a red notice are very low, according to Hayes. Although in theory the requesting country should be able to provide information demonstrating the accused’s participation in an offense, in reality, “as long as there is a valid arrest warrant and the person is sufficiently identified, it’ll go through,” he said.
Often people learn there is a red notice against them only when they attempt to travel, or when extradition proceedings against them begin, Hayes said. To challenge it, they must petition an Interpol commission, which meets four times a year and can take nine months to issue decisions.
In 2016, Enoch Ruhigira, a Rwandan living in New Zealand who was traveling to the U.K., was detained in Germany on the basis of a red notice, even though it had already been deleted at the time. Ruhigira, the head of presidential staff under the previous Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, had been accused by Kagame of genocide in 2004, but presented convincing evidence to the contrary and got the red notice against him rescinded in 2015. Still, he spent eight months in custody while the confusion was sorted out.
Interpol declined to comment.
Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front took power in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, which saw nearly 1 million members of the Tutsi ethnic group and their sympathizers murdered. Lauded for bringing peace and fast economic growth, his government has been embraced by Western allies for nearly three decades. But at the same time, it has targeted, criminalized and crushed his detractors at home and abroad. Human rights organizations have documented numerous killings, disappearances, threats, attacks and forced returns under Kagame’s rule.
The RNC, an opposition group established in the U.S. in 2010 by exiled former senior government officials, has drawn particular ire. RNC co-founder Patrick Karegeya, a former head of Rwandan intelligence, was murdered in a hotel room in South Africa in 2014. Co-founder Faustine Kayumba Nyamwasa, an ex-Rwandan army chief, has survived three assassination attempts.
“I am a high-profile target, but I’m safer than someone in Kigali [Rwanda’s capital] with similar thinking like me, Nyamwasa told OCCRP. “They are more exposed to a lot of danger.”
“We have our own way of getting to know what is intended,” Nyamwasa said, explaining how he has managed to stay alive. “But you cannot control everything. The situation is threatening but you get used to it. You learn to live with it.”
The Rwandan regime gets away with abductions, disappearances, and assassinations at home and in other African countries, where perpetrators can avoid justice by paying bribes, Nyamwasa explained. In Europe and in the U.S., where there are stronger institutions and rule of law, Rwanda uses disinformation instead.
The disinformation and intelligence operations are run out of Rwanda’s embassies all over the world, according to former high-ranking security officials now living in exile.
Robert Higiro, a former major in the Rwandan army, says sometimes the operations are carried out by people posing as refugees who are actually working for the government. They “push aggressively” by telling the U.S. State Department, FBI, CIA or the U.K.’s Foreign Office that certain targets are criminals and shouldn’t get asylum, according to Higiro.
Several exiles told OCCRP about warnings and briefings they had received by police in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, and the Netherlands, suggesting that despite warm diplomatic relations, these governments are aware of Kigali’s tactics.
British journalist Michela Wrong, author of “Do Not Disturb,” a book about the Kagame regime and the killing of Karegeya, told OCCRP that Rwanda’s extradition efforts are designed to dissuade any political challengers to Kagame. Foreign law enforcement agencies don’t always realize what they’re dealing with, she said.
“The message is, ‘You can run, but you cannot hide. I will get you in the end.’ That’s what all these operations boil down to,” Wrong said. “This is a personalized message directed at Kagame’s own entourage, which he believes would be the source of any serious challenge to his regime.”
Despite Rwanda’s poor track record on human rights, Western allies have maintained their support for decades.
In addition to training the Rwandan military, the U.S. proposed to spend $145 million in assistance to Kigali in 2023. The U.K. signed a bilateral agreement to send asylum seekers from the U.K. to Rwanda, despite being warned that Rwanda tortures and kills political opponents.
No to Rwanda deportations protest at Royal Court of Justice, London 5th September 2022. Photo: Flickr/Steve Eason
One U.S. lawmaker is pressuring the Biden administration to finally reconsider supporting Kigali, especially after Rusesabagina’s kidnapping in 2020.
“Not only would Rwanda be flouting U.S. laws by targeting dissidents inside the United States, Rwanda appears to be the only foreign government in the world that is both wrongfully detaining an American resident and seen by the United States as a partner and ally,” wrote Senator Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in July.
The lawmaker said there was a “need for a more effective U.S. policy” and that he would place a hold on all security assistance to Rwanda until the State Department undertakes a comprehensive review.

This article is published courtesy of our partner OCCRP.
Contrary to the impression being created by some Western apologists, migration is part of human experience down through the ages, and is not exclusive to people from the territories previously colonised by the West.
We human beings keep on moving from place to place, that is, migrating. Indeed, one could say that history is a chronicle of migrations, so that the very idea that a certain community is the “indigenous” occupant of a certain territory is myth rather than fact. For example, as Richard S. Odingo observed, “The Nilotics, as well as the Bantus living in the various parts of East Africa today, migrated to their present environment within the last 600 to 1000 years.” Thus while my people, the Luo, believe that the land around the Great Lake is their birthright, Prof. Bethuel A. Ogot has shown that they are a very recent arrival from the Nile valley through present-day Sudan and Uganda. As Kenyan philosopher Prof. D.A. Masolo informs us, the Luo say “Dhano chal ombasa: k’ochiek bu otwo to omuoch bu kothe kir-re bu twi kanmoro nono (humans are like the Ombasa, the traveling plant … which spreads when it is mature, and its dry pod bursts open, thus freeing and hurling its ripened seed across territory to new grounds where it sinks and spreads its root).” Similarly, Michella Wrong observes that despite the account of Gikuyu and Mumbi receiving the area around Kirinyaga (Mount Kenya) from Ngai (God) and bequeathing it to their descendants the Agikuyu, “the Kikuyu probably arrived in what is now Kenya after an infinitesimally slow migration that began in around 2000 BC in what are today’s Nigeria and Cameroon”.
Yet migration almost always results in social tensions, as earlier inhabitants of a locale view the newcomers as a threat. Thus at the Kenyan coast we have had the “Wabara warudi kwao (Let upcountry people go back to their homes)”, calls to remove “madoadoa (weeds)” from the Rift Valley, and in the north-east of the country the singling out of “outsiders” for reprisals. In several countries in Africa, people from other parts of the continent have been targets of violence, including Tanzanian traders at Nairobi’s Gikomba Market, and immigrant workers in South Africa. Similarly, news of migrants from Africa on overloaded, under-serviced boats trying to get to the shores of European countries often dominate the news. The so-called European refugee crisis of 2015 saw about one million immigrants set foot in Western Europe, capturing the attention of leading Western media houses for several years before the obsessive preoccupation with COVID-19 partially eclipsed it.
Listening to the rhetoric of the likes of Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron on their resolve to greatly limit immigration to the West, one would think there was no migration before the twenty-first century. During the campaigns for the recent French presidential elections, Macron called for the strengthening of the European Union’s external borders against people illegally entering the bloc’s passport-free area; and Trump’s tireless efforts to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. is still fresh in many minds. What people like Macron and Trump rarely say is that the power and wealth that their countries enjoy are the direct result of at least two forms of migration, namely, slave trade (Western merchants instigating the forced migration of the peoples of Africa out of the continent and into Western Europe and its satellites) and colonialism (voluntary migration of European oppressors into non-Western territories to forcefully extract labour and natural resources from them).
As Walter Rodney observes in How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, “To discuss trade between Africans and Europeans in the four centuries before colonial rule is virtually to discuss slave trade.” He further writes:
The massive loss to the African labor force was made more critical because it was composed of able-bodied young men and young women. Slave buyers preferred their victims between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five, and preferably in the early twenties; the sex ratio being about two men to one woman. Europeans often accepted younger African children, but rarely any older person. They shipped the most healthy wherever possible, taking the trouble to get those who had already survived an attack of smallpox, and who were therefore immune from further attacks of that disease, which was then one of the world’s great killer diseases.
While many in Africa might think of Western colonialism as an exclusively late nineteenth-century phenomenon, it has much earlier routes. For example, the colonisation of India began with the Portuguese incursion from around 1505, soon after Vasco da Gama set foot there in 1498. The Portuguese were briefly followed by the Dutch, after which the British and the French each made their incursions into the sub-continent in the seventeenth century. Eventually the British gained an upper hand in India, first exploiting it economically through the East India Company from the early eighteenth century, and later using the same company as its political agent until the mid-nineteenth century, before taking direct control of the country.
Besides, the propagandistic Western education systems and their neo-colonial satellites teach that the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus “discovered” the so-called “Americas”. Yet Indigenous peoples had been living there for centuries by the time he arrived in 1492, and the Norse explorer Leif Eriksson and his team had already been there from Western Europe five centuries earlier. Historians are emphatic that Columbus fatally damaged the societies of the indigenous peoples whom he found in the so-called Americas, and whom he called “Indians” in at least three ways: the use of violence and slavery, forced conversion to Western Christianity, and the introduction of a host of new diseases that decimated their populations, thus rendering them much less capable of resisting the Western invaders.
During his famous first voyage in 1492, Columbus landed on an unknown Caribbean island, ordering six individuals from among the indigenous people there to be captured and made to offer free labour. He later sent thousands of peaceful Taino “Indians” from the island of Hispaniola to Spain to be sold as slaves, and many of them died en route. He and his team also forced those Taino left behind to search for gold in mines and to work on plantations. Within 60 years after Columbus landed, only a few hundred of what may have been 250,000 Taino were left on their island. It is therefore tragically ironical that the descendants of those who committed unimaginable atrocities in the so-called Americas now assert unchallenged discretion to grant or deny visas to people from other parts of the world desiring to set foot on those shores. Besides, in 1934, “Columbus Day” was signed into law as a US Federal Holiday to be celebrated every second Monday of October. However, beginning in 1991, in response to sustained protests, dozens of US cities and several states began adopting Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day to celebrate the history and contributions of the indigenous peoples of the so-called Americas.
Historians are emphatic that Columbus fatally damaged the societies of the indigenous peoples whom he found in the so-called Americas, and whom he called “Indians”.
Similarly, from the end of the eighteenth century to date, the indigenous peoples of Australia and New Zealand have suffered colonisation, genocide and sustained exploitation from Western European invaders. As Xin Ping observes, “Along with expulsion and genocide, smallpox, flu, measles and other infectious diseases struck and killed countless people. Within a century, the indigenous population went from an estimated between 350,000 and 1,000,000 to about 60,000. The Black War against Tasmanian Australians was one of the first recorded genocides in history. Over 140 years of Australian history, there were at least 270 frontier massacres that were part of state-sanctioned and organized attempts to eradicate the First Peoples.”
The West gave the flimsy rationale for both the slave trade and colonialism in the religious, philosophical and anthropological ideas of leading Europeans, such as the 1493 decree by Pope Alexander VI authorising Spain and Portugal to colonize the Americas and subjugate their native peoples. The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, in his Philosophy of History, declared that what he called “Africa proper”, that is, Africa south of the Sahara, was devoid of reason and therefore without history; and the British philosopher John Stuart Mill worked for the robber East India Company. Besides, in his On Liberty, Mill expressed the view that the subjugation of non-Western peoples in a bid to “civilise” them was justified. There was also the French novelist, diplomat and travel writer, Arthur de Gobineau, who, between 1853 and 1855, wrote four volumes titled Treatise on the Inequality of Human Races, in which he put the “white” race at the top of the racial hierarchy, and stressed the necessity of maintaining its purity by ensuring that “white” people refrain from marrying people from other races. Thus the idea was popularised among Western European imperialists that the lands on which the various peoples of Africa dwelt were virtually owned by no one (terra nullius), and their minds were empty like a slate with no writing on it (tabula rasa).
According to Marie-Laurence Flahaux and Hein De Haas, contrary to the perception that Africa is characterised by mass migration and displacement caused by poverty, violent conflict and environmental stress, more and more evidence is emerging indicating that most people in Africa migrate for family, work or study as is the case in other regions of the world. They point out that since 2000, several survey or interview-based studies have shown that most migrations by the peoples of Africa are not directed towards Europe, but towards other countries in Africa, and also to the Gulf countries and to the Americas. Nevertheless, the stereotype of poor people from Africa flocking the West to escape hunger and war are based on a racist ideology which should be constantly challenged as part of our decolonisation endeavours.
Many of us in Africa are acquainted with compatriots who, due to lack of work at home, have tried, successfully or otherwise, to migrate to the affluent West. Others of our compatriots with reasonably good jobs at home aspire for migration to the West in the hope of enjoying much more physical comforts facilitated by bigger pay cheques and higher standards of living. They also often hope to save up while there to enable them set up businesses back home, or to put up dazzling houses in their ancestral homes to minimise the interruption of their affluent lives when they make the occasional visits to their countries of origin. Underlying such aspirations is the presumption that the West is the ideal to which former colonies ought to aspire, and that migrating there enables individuals to achieve what their countries are likely to take decades if not centuries to accomplish.
The West gave the flimsy rationale for both the slave trade and colonialism in the religious, philosophical and anthropological ideas of leading Europeans.
Western Europe and its migrant satellites in North America, Australia and New Zealand have been agonising over the issue of migrants for several decades now. They have usually framed the issue in terms of cultural majority-minority relations because a recent migrant community to a territory is, by definition, a minority. Charles Wagley and Marvin Harris succinctly express the plight of cultural minorities in the so-called New World (mainly the Americas, Australia and New Zealand) as follows:
On one basis or another, these groups are singled out by the societies in which they reside and in varying degrees and proportions are subjected to economic exploitation, segregation, and discrimination. These are the people who are disliked and ridiculed because they speak a different tongue, practice a different religion; or because their skin is a different color, their hair a different texture; or simply because their ancestors emigrated from a different country.
In particular, while the dominant Western liberal tradition espouses a vision of a culturally-blind society in which the individual pursues his/her personal interests rather than those of his/her cultural group, many migrants assert their right to cultural group identity. A number of Western philosophers have supported the right to group identity, including the Canadian philosopher Will Kymlicka who defends it in the framework of multicultural citizenship, while his compatriot Charles Taylor (not the Liberian warlord) conceptualises it in terms of the politics of recognition.
Listening to rhetoric on how “foreigners” are “flooding” Western Europe and its satellites, one could easily get the impression that the borders of countries are objective facts that we ought to respect. However, borders of countries change frequently, as was the case with Kismayu which was once part of Kenya but is now part of Somalia, and with Königsberg which was part of Germany but now is part of Russia and has been renamed Kaliningrad. Of greater significance is the fact that the various countries of Africa and other (former) colonial territories continue to be impoverished despite their massive investments in developing their human resource: medical doctors, nurses, engineers, architects, educationists, academics and many others trained through the taxes of their people are using their skills in the affluent West while their countries languish due to a lack of the expertise that they paid to develop.
Most importantly, in our day, the question of migration from the economically-disadvantaged countries of Africa to the affluent West and its satellites touches on the issue of historical injustice. This is due to the fact that the economically-disadvantaged countries are in their present circumstance due to slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism for which the West is responsible. However, some in the West are of the view that historical injustices cannot be redressed because to do so would create worse outcomes. For example, the late American ecologist Garrett Hardin argues in his controversial essay “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor” that resources in wealthy countries cannot possibly meet the needs of the millions in poor ones, and that trying to help them by allowing immigration and giving them foreign aid would result in the destruction of both: “World food banks move food to the people, hastening the exhaustion of the environment of the poor countries [by allowing their populations to multiply]. Unrestricted immigration, on the other hand, moves people to the food, thus speeding up the destruction of the environment of the rich countries.”
The question of migration from the economically-disadvantaged countries of Africa to the affluent West and its satellites touches on the issue of historical injustice.
However, as the late Kenyan philosopher H. Odera Oruka correctly observed, Hardin’s analysis ignores how poor countries were made poor in the first instance, and also turns a blind eye on the continuing dependence of the wealthy countries on their exploitation of the poor ones: “If indeed all the poor boats sank, eventually the rich boats would also sink. It is known, for example, that up to a quarter of the jobs in the U.S.A. would disappear if that country divested from the Third World”. Furthermore, University of Oxford’s  Prof. Ian Goldin warns that while it is the immigrants who would first suffer if the West closed its doors to them, the measure would also wreak havoc on the affluent economies: “If rich countries were really going to shut the door on immigration, they would need to stop international flights, block their ports, end tourism and brace themselves for a rapid contraction in GDP. Far from seeing unemployment fall, it would rise: companies would fail as they lost staff and management, and demand would fall.” Besides, “Many industries – from agriculture to healthcare to construction to technology to tourism – depend on migrant workers. Hospitals would close as they lost cleaners and heart surgeons alike. Women who depend on foreign nannies to go out to work would suffer.” He goes on to note that “… more than half of the start-ups in Silicon Valley are founded by migrants, as well as many of the most iconic firms – Apple, Google, Yahoo, PayPal.”
In his conclusion to The Wretched of the Earth written about three decades before Oruka wrote, Frantz Fanon, the renowned Algerian freedom fighter, was emphatic that it was Europe which plunged Africa into darkness, and that it was crucial that the peoples of Africa shake off that darkness and leave it behind them: “Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe.” Some pages later he wrote: “Let us decide not to imitate Europe; let us combine our muscles and our brains in a new direction. Let us try to create the whole man, whom Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth.” This is what some scholars such as the late Egyptian economist Samir Amin have referred to as “delinking” – an idea which becomes clearer when we recall V.Y. Mudimbe’s observation that colonialism produces “the domination of physical space, the reformation of natives’ minds, and the integration of local economic histories into the Western perspective”. Amin held the view that the countries of Africa should wait for a moment when Western capitalism is extremely vulnerable due to its own internal contradictions, and take advantage of that moment to break away from its bondage. If more skilled people from Africa were committed to this vision, they would be more determined to weather the challenges of remaining in their homelands, thereby contributing to addressing the haemorrhage of expertise out of the continent.
“More than half of the start-ups in Silicon Valley are founded by migrants, as well as many of the most iconic firms – Apple, Google, Yahoo, PayPal.”
From the foregoing reflections, at least three points are worth reiterating. First, contrary to the impression being created by some Western apologists, migration is part of human experience down through the ages, and thus not exclusive to people from the territories previously colonised by the West. Second, Migration causes tensions in society because of the scramble for material resources and the desire to maintain cultural identities. Third, the effects of migration globally have been aggravated by the atrocities that the West has perpetrated against the rest over the past five hundred years through the slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Consequently, for the West to try to control migration from former colonial territories to its shores without addressing the factors that cause it, and whose origins it is largely responsible for, is to engage in a delusion at best, or in pathological hypocrisy at worst; for as Prof. Ian Goldin correctly notes, “… depending on how far you go back, we are all immigrants.”
Human history is a record of mass migrations and evolutionary importance of migration remains undiminished. On today’s crowded planet demanding creative solutions, coevolutionary processes across system scales from local to global are the contemporary equivalent of bipedalism.
Our hominin ancestors descended from the canopy and hit the ground running. Bipedalism equipped the species with evolutionary advantages including the use of tools, enhanced cognitive skills, and the capacity for long distance travel. Human history became a record of mass migrations as our species travelled across desert, mountains, and through forests, peopling the continents and occupying the planet’s most remote islands and archipelagos. Then, around six thousand years ago, they started settling down.
The rest was inevitable. What began as the wandering of bands and clans eventually gave way to the mastery over nature and conquests that shaped and reconfigured the modern world. The disruptions of the Second World War and the decolonization that followed completed the world’s present ethno-nationalist map. The post-World II era was a period of state consolidation. Together with decolonization, it conveyed the impression of a sorted-out world map where almost everyone belonged to a territorially-defined place.
This status quo shifted in 1989. Freedom of movement resumed and thirty-four new states came into existence. Although the transnational flows of goods, services, and capital did not extend to labour, events following the neoliberal opening triggered a new wave of population movement. International migration increased by 41 per cent between the turn of the millennium and 2015. Migrants now comprise 3.6 per cent of the global population of 7.96 billion, and they remit some US$720 billion to their home countries.
Africans contributed only a small portion of the increase responsible for the surge, despite perceptions that locate them in the front of the wave. It’s not that they don’t want to move. A recent study reported that 52 per cent of the young Africans questioned are planning to move abroad in the next three years—marking a strong contrast with a survey several years ago that found more than two-thirds of the continent’s young people want to stay put. Their options, however, are limited.
This is in part due to the high numbers of immigrants from other regions who preceded them. Where European migration provided by far the largest number since 1492, Asia provided the largest segment of people who have resettled abroad since 1989. Most migration routes now run from south to north and from east to west. What began as resettlement and labour contracts ended up contributing to the we-are-here-because-you-were-there meme.
The backlash against immigration that is raising barriers to travel and resettlement is not only a Western country problem. The sentiments behind Brexit and Trump’s MAGA xenophobia are to be found in the intolerance for non-indigenous residents in many African countries. South Africa may be the most blatant example, but migrants in neighbouring countries remain vulnerable to political vagaries, as the large number of Kenyans who set up base in newly independent South Sudan discovered. An estimated 1 to 2 million Chinese, many of them contract labourers and small businessmen, have migrated to the continent at the same time as Africans are face growing impediments to setting up shop in neighbouring countries. Chinese sources report a much lower number, but they only include workers on formal contracts.
Migrants have always been pawns in domestic politics and the games nations play. The artificial refugee crisis created by the Government of Belarus in 2021 is one example.  President Alexander Lukashenko boasted that he would flood the European Union with drug smugglers, human traffickers, and armed migrants. Flights to the Middle East were increased to accommodate the tens of thousands of mainly Kurdish refugees who received new visas. The government said they were promoting their tourism sector. Arrivals reported they were provided with wire cutters and directions to unprotected border points.
The coronavirus pandemic added biomedical criteria to the list of conditions travellers must satisfy. Such trends contrast with economists’ reckoning that the free movement of people is one of our most effective tools for poverty reduction, and that it could potentially increase global GDP by over 30 per cent.
Despite the many success stories of displaced communities who have made good, perceptions of migration are now intertwined with climate change, socioeconomic precarity, and the other political forces reconfiguring today’s world. The administrative and political constraints hindering international travel immigration have long term implications for Africa’s developmental trajectory at a time when the continent’s population is surging.
Or does it?
There are many variations on the large-scale movement from one environment to another: involuntary, circular, seasonal, episodic, transnational, sponsored, and spontaneous to name a few. The scope of migration studies and policy analysis is by the same measure extensive and multi-faceted. This literature conveys a rather complicated picture of the dynamics in play and the empirical outcomes they continue to generate.
The common approach sees migration as a series of discreet events, reinforced by the role of diverse influences like political conflicts, environmental calamities, and economic drivers. It is further obfuscated by the influence of ethnic diasporas, reactionary populist enclaves, and human trafficking networks. Nomenclature distinguishing migrant from immigrant, immigrant from citizen, and guest workers from expatriates adds an element of incongruency.
The world appears to be awash with ever increasing numbers of migrants as the news cycle saturates us with images from crisis spots like Syria, Afghanistan, and the Ukraine. But the popular perception that most migration is driven by domestic crises does not synch with the large body of research, data, and scholarship. Rather, the evidence shows the migration is beneficial for both the new hosts and sending nations. Refugees comprise only a minor portion of the people on the move according to global data statistics.
The data also indicates that most international migration follows conventional pathways and formal procedures. The great majority of Africans leaving the continent do so in possession of valid passports and visas. The typical immigrant leaves in search of education, employment, and to reunite with family members. One study of African trends and patterns since 1960 calculated that only 20 per cent of African migrants between 1960 and 2010 were attributable to conflict and poverty. The analysis goes a long way towards debunking the stereotypical view that African is a continent on the move, and that most of the traffic is directed toward Europe.
The popular perception that most migration is driven by domestic crises does not synch with the large body of research, data, and scholarship.
But this is not 2010. The world has shifted. The intensity of African migration (the percentage of emigration relative to the domestic population) has decreased, but this is accompanied by recent claims that environmental disasters, political instability, and the uneven impacts of globalisation now account for the majority of African movements. A UN University study on the root causes and regulatory dynamics of African migration begins with the highly dubious claim that migrants now comprise 12.5 per cent of the world’s population. It proceeds to observe that:
There are an estimated 1 billion migrants in the world today and demographic imbalances, economic inequality, increased globalization, political instability and climatic changes will all contribute to increasing large-scale migration in the coming decades, disproportionally affecting the Global South.
Determining the facts is not easy. After Syria, Africa as a region does host the world’s largest share of displaced persons. But the study cited here does little to clarify what the disproportionate effects referred to actually are. Even if the role of episodic events is greater at this juncture, the overall rate of African migration has declined to 2.9 per cent, and 79 per cent of that statistic is limited to the emigrants’ home region.
The same localized pattern holds for the impacts of climate change. Images generated by crisis-driven migration have nevertheless come to personify the influence of the environmental changes erupting across the planet. Levels of uncertainty are increasing apace. The sheer numbers of asylum seekers quarantined on the Greek island of Lesbos, and the sordid conditions of the refugees packed into the “Calais Jungle” camp in northern France reinforce public support for tightening borders. At the same time, unmet demand in labour markets is reflected in the growth of human trafficking, which tripled between 2008 and 2019.
 Institutionalization of state surveillance in China and the zero-tolerance enforcement towards asylum seekers in Australia and eastern European countries may be symptoms of the fading neo-liberal vision. These and other policies are also influenced by the perceived threat of mass migration: allowing a small trickle today will turn into a flood tomorrow. Once again, empirical data contradicts popular perceptions. The UNHCR reports that two-thirds of the world’s refugees come from five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.
Local and regional issues are responsible for the great majority of involuntary movements.  The internally displaced now make up the great majority of the world’s refugees. The strict transnational protocols being enacted nevertheless point to the hidden transcript influencing white-wing populist narratives. Commentators like Tucker Carlson, for example, exploit ethno-nationalist nostalgia combined with the longstanding fear of barbarians at the gate to promote his replacement theory polemic in the United States.
The internally displaced now make up the great majority of the world’s refugees.
They need not worry. Migration is a function of capacity. For the highly skilled, migration is easy, and they emigrate over long distances. Although the poor also migrate, they do so less often and cover much shorter distances.
Studies of migration typically focus on push and pull factors, socioeconomic variables, directionality and destinations, and feedback effects like the brain-drain and other impacts. For present purposes, its best to redefine immigration as process, punctuated by stress and friction, facilitating the flow of ideas, and leading to outcomes including integration, assimilation, and coevolutionary syntheses.
African exemplars of this process encompass distinct Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan African variations.  Examples of mass migration include the Arabisation of North Africa, the Nuer’s rapid expansion at the expense of the Dinka between 1795 and 1845, and the Ogaden Somali migrations into northeastern Kenya after crossing the Juba river. But for the most part, African history is a record of small groups inscribing multi-directional migrations out of several linguistic “cradlelands” or dispersal areas.
Africa’s historically low population densities, climatic and environmental uncertainty, and irregular distribution of natural resources favoured the free movement of people. Spatial variables and the variegated landscape played a primary role in the patterns of migration and settlement. The role of iron and the domestication of plant and animal species featured prominently in the slow but steady distribution of the population across the continent. In most cases expansion took the form of clans, extended families, and individuals covering relatively short distances.
This growth reached a threshold around 1250 CE, when the end of the high humidity climate of the first millennia set a number of populations on the move. This led to the modern configuration of the larger eastern and Horn of Africa region. The outcome of these movements, as the archaeological record dating back to proto-historic times shows, was a quilt-work of sedentary, transhumant, and nomadic communities. They practiced a spectrum of livelihood strategies adapted to the mosaic of irregular ecological niches.
Over time a number of cultural solidarities emerged. Examples are the agricultural Akan-Ashanti, Mande, and pastoral Fulani and Tuareg in West Africa, the pre-Arab Amazigh of northern Africa, and the Swahili of the Afro-Indian Ocean littoral.
African state formation occurred in a diversity of settings, while freedom to move on moderated the hegemonic proclivities of kingdoms and lineage societies. In West Africa, population compaction in the forest zone and long-distance commerce in the Sahel explain the earlier emergence and greater permanence of centralized states. The kingdoms of the Great Lakes came about through the confluence of Cushitic, Nilotic, and Bantu elements. Like Abyssinia, they trace their origins to the process of secondary state formation originating in ancient Egypt.
In many of these states the proclivity for centralization was countered by people’s ability to vote with their feet. Ruling clans carried their royal power objects and traditions with them in the case of the Lwoo speakers. Since the proto historical era the process resulted in resilient ethno-cultural mosaics bound together by webs of exchange, practicing different forms of decentralized governance, and demarcated by the interactive neutral zones that served as borders. These mosaics provided the underpinning for Africa’s distinctly coevolutionary developmental trajectory.
Many of these areas supported a coevolutionary dynamic that by the late precolonial era was feeding into the rise of proto-state organization, including the multi-ethnic followings attracted to charismatic leaders and prophets, and councils integrating generational age-set systems. Kinship fictive and real operated alongside other cultural institutions accommodating the migration and assimilation of clans and individuals.
The rise of multi-ethnic polities and networks continued up to the moment of European intervention. Imperial conquest short-circuited the process. The formation of Africa’s colonial states ring-fenced communities, demarcating hard borders separating nations and communities. Migration continued, but the process was now managed from above.
Contrary to the expectations cultivated by the Pan-African movement, decolonization actually resulted in a decline of migration. Governments used immigration controls to demonstrate their sovereignty over the populations within their borders. Both Ghana and Nigeria ordered large-scale deportations of African immigrants within their borders two decades into the independence era. Many countries imposed strict requirements for African nationals’ visas.
As noted above, most of the movement and scope for policy-based solutions is now taking place on the regional scale. Africa’s regional economic communities like the Economic Community of West African States, the East African Community, and the Southern African Development Community have endorsed policies supporting the free movement of people, but governments continue to display ambivalence when it comes to implementation. Intra-African movements continue to decline, especially for land-locked countries, although migration abroad remains strong in a sample of countries that include Angola, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.
Contrary to the expectations cultivated by the Pan-African movement, decolonization actually resulted in a decline of migration.
Africa’s mosaic template remains active, but at this moment it is for the most part sustained by internal displacement and the waves of refugees seeking sanctuary across borders. Both conflict and migration have always been intrinsic to socioeconomic transitions. This dynamic assumes greater cogency in current circumstances, where intra-African migration continues to decline and African states remain reluctant to relax border controls. These conditions in turn highlight the role of informal processes on the margins.
The region’s rangelands are the one area where the free movement of goods and peoples still follow the dynamics displaced by the imposition of artificial boundaries. A new IGAD-UNDP project supporting cross-border free-trade zones represents a first step towards recognizing how developments in these areas are contributing to regional integration. Benefits generated by the new socioeconomic mosaics emerging in the borderlands include improved cooperation among government administrators on issues of conflict, livestock rustling, and human trafficking.
The evolutionary importance of migration remains undiminished. On a crowded planet demanding creative solutions, coevolutionary processes across system scales from local to global are the contemporary equivalent of bipedalism.
In an influential 1971 paper entitled Hypothesis of the Mobility Transition, Wilbur Zelinsky argued that processes of economic development and modernisation coincided with increasing rural-to-urban migration followed by a subsequent increase in emigration. Subsequent developments supported his predictions: as societies become wealthy emigration decreases and immigration increases.
Rising emigration is normally an indicator of a nation’s economic growth, education, and access to information and transnational networks. By this measure, Kenya’s mobility transition is well underway. The diaspora is an active contributor the national economy, and the country’s percentage of immigrants has gradually risen from 2.14 to 2.35 since 2005. These other indicators suggest it is one of a cluster of African nations poised to become net destination countries over the coming years.
Kalundi Serumaga’s companion piece to this essay clarifies the local context of the pathways discussed here. As he reminds us, modern world history is mainly a record of Western European migration. Their peregrinations gave us the present world system. If migration is a function of capacity and institutional checkpoints, this still favours citizens from the Global North—prompting Serumaga to conclude by predicting that the next large-scale migration into Africa will be Caucasian.
On a crowded planet demanding creative solutions, coevolutionary processes across system scales from local to global are the contemporary equivalent of bipedalism.
This makes karmic sense. From the onset of the Christian era until 1900 Africa’s percentage of the globe’s population decreased from 15 per cent to 9 per cent. Africa should have been a magnet for in-migration considering Africa demographic conditions and economic resources, but the continent got the slave trade instead. The flow of world history is due to reverse.
Africa’s share of the population is expected to hit 20 per cent in 2030. In two decades Africa will host the lion’s share of the world’s labour force. Unless artificial intelligence achieves a radical shift in how things work, global economic integration will follow suite. Africa will become a destination continent. The directionality of world migration is already shifting, but I disagree with Kalundi on its composition. As the continent’s future emerges, our new neighbours are more likely to be Chinese and Indian than European—alongside the sundry Sudanese, Nigerians, Egyptians, and Congolese.
But who knows? Zelinsky also prophesied that the widespread adoption of information and communication technologies will impact human geographic mobility. Maybe we will end up living in a demobilized world where everyone will be cohabiting in the metaverse.
Dear Mr President, Tax the Land Not the People
The Enemy Within
From Paranoia to Process: The Future of African Migration
Gendered Food Insecurity: The Case of Afghanistan
From the Rest to the West? The Eurocentric Politics of Migration
Rwanda Fed False Intelligence to U.S. and Interpol As It Pursued Political Dissidents Abroad
Snake Farming: Roots Party Is on to Something
Kinoti vs DPP Haji
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Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.