Most African migrants are not going to Europe, America or Asia - here's where they are headed

A new report by Pan-African research network Afrobarometer has revealed the most common destination for African immigrants.

Most African migrants are not going to Europe, America or Asia, they are going to other African countries instead

Contrary to public opinion, the research found that most people are leaving the continent for Europe, America or Asia.

After surveying respondents in 34 African countries, the results show that 36% of Africans are more likely to migrant within the continent than outside it.

Here are the top destinations, according to this report:

  • Another African country in the region - 29%
  • Another part of Africa - 7%
  • Europe - 27%
  • North America - 22%
  • Other counties/regions - 13%

The research also found that these destinations depend on the migrant's region. Intending immigrants living central, east and southern African are most likely to move to another African country while those in the west and north parts of the continent would prefer to move to Europe.

Why are Africans leaving their countries?

According to the study, there are five main reasons why people consider emigration.


They are:

  • To find work - 44%
  • Escape poverty /economic hardship- 29%
  • Pursue an education - 6%
  • Travel/Tourism/Adventure - 5%
  • Seek better business prospects - 4% 

These are the reasons why the majority of the respondents, especially young, educated Africans aged between 18 and 25 (47%), are seriously leaving their home countries. 

Majority of people in this group can be found in Cabo Verde (57%), Sierra Leone (57%), the Gambia (56%), Togo (54%), and São Tomé and Príncipe (54%).


"On average, more than half (51%) of all respondents with post-secondary educational qualifications say they have given at least 'a little' consideration to emigrating, including one in four (24%) who have considered it "a lot," the report states.

Other key findings are:

  • Majority of the people who are currently making preparations to move are in Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
  • People who already taking concrete steps to leave their countries within a year or two are usually young, educated, urban men.  
  • While poor people are more likely to migrate in order to escape hardship, the well off ones, on the other hand, leave to seek educational and business opportunities and adventure.


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