Actmm 2018 – African Conference on Trans-Mediterranean Migration

– The African Conference on Trans-Mediterranean Migration – 


Economic Migration: Community Awareness and Expectations of Illegal Routes

Despite governmental and non-governmental efforts to control the influx of migrants into Europe, the crises continue to impose serious challenges to the nations involved especially destination countries like Italy, Spain and Greece, Germany and so on.

Efforts to stop or control migration seems be an enormous  task for policy makers and academics. Every day presents new challenges. Migrants exploits new methods to by-pass border control while at the same time there are loopholes in cooperation between countries and organizations involved along the Mediterranean.

Consequently, the challenges persist. Migrants are left to survive or to fend for themselves. They have little or no rights and receive little or no protection from injury both en route and upon arrival.

The African Conference on Trans-Mediterranean Migration will largely focus on  Economic Migration from Africa to Europe through the Sahara desert and eventually the Mediterranean sea. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ascertains that 7 in 10 people found crossing the Mediterranean are not legitimate refugees but are economic migrants, while the rest may be in genuine “need for protection”.

Thousands of this migrants travel through Libya and end up as victims to life-threatening insecurity, instability, difficult economic conditions plus widespread exploitation and abuse. It is believed that more than one million migrants from west, central and east Africa are currently in one of the the north African countries, seeking for an opportunity to cross into Europe or simply in detention camps. These claims are backed by UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, who said there was “no slowing down” in the human convoys attempting the dangerous crossing.

A more disturbing case is the heavy dead toll in the Mediterranean. Since 2016, close to 5000 migrants mainly from Africa have lost their lives or simply disappeared crossing the Mediterranean. Thousands more die or disappeared on the Sahara desert en route to Morocco, Libya, Algeria or Tunisia. A large number of these are economic migrants on adventure to Europe to seek better living conditions for themselves and their families.

Economic Migration can largely be blamed on little or no information on the part of the migrants before leaving their countries. Prior to leaving their countries, migrants have no understanding on the risks involved , the challenges ahead and the nature of the journey. Most of them are lured, deceived and betrayed into the adventure by human smugglers and traffickers who collect huge sum of money and promise to safely take them to Europe.

The conference will there focus on designing policies and action plans to involve the local communities in the global struggle to control economic migration. Guns and border control in Europe cannot solve migration crises. But effective community awareness and participation will. The only way to reduce the number of persons illegitimately moving from Africa to Europe is to educate Africans about the challenges, the risks and especially what to expect when taking illegitimate routes .

Europe and the international community should employ this new approach to contain the Migration crises. Migration should be controlled at the departure countries not at destination countries.

The ACTMM2018 conference will bring together individual participants, representatives of the civil society, other organizations and government agencies and the international to hold information sessions to stop people from migrating through illegal illegitimate routes.  The three-day event will have two phases; a two-day intensive presentation and information sessions. The last day is scheduled to host activities to inform and commission the local team on a one-month cross country campaign on illegitimate migration and  community awareness.

For more information, click here: Actmm 2018

Guns and border control cannot stop migration. But what can?

kids2On a visit to Cameroon during the Christmas Holidays I asked some of my Cameroonian nephews and nieces, aged between 9 and 14, to show me the position of Cameroon on the world map. To my surprise, none of them could do this. They also struggled to name even one neighbouring country (Cameroon has 6 to choose from; Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea). Unfortunately and without generalizing, this is the case for most children and even (young) adults that I met during my recent trips to Cameroon. They have no clue of their position in the world, let alone they know how the situation in their country is compared to the situations in other parts of the world. They live their lives with the strong belief that the best thing that can happen to them is to travel out of their own country. They simply do not understand that even if they go to Europe and make more money, their monthly costs and responsibilities will also increase proportionally.

But can we really blame them? I don’t think so. Every person is looking for happiness and a better life after all. What many, especially young Africans do not realise is that for most of them, the best life is in Africa. Nowadays almost every young Cameroonian has a smartphone with internet, but when you inquire about the things they use it for, no one will tell you they use it to study, read or do research.

I see it as my personal mission to educate these young people about the world. To teach them how to investigate news and information that people tell them and most importantly to inspire them to become critical citizens of their countries. I also believe that this goal can be achieved with rapidity and certainty. Not by simply sending children to schools that teach definitions only, but by teaching them how to think independently and showing them how to take charge of their own lives. We have to teach youths that to achieve anything in life, it is in their hands, and not in the hands of their government, their family, or the government of a developed country. We need to teach young Cameroonians and Africans how to make use of the possibilities, opportunities and potentials they already have. And they can start right where they are. They do not have to go to Europe to realise their dreams. Until we do this, migration can never be stopped or controlled because of wrong expectations. Especially not by putting soldiers with guns at the border.

Florine van Meer (



YPA Solidarity Football Match

On June 25th, 2017, Youth Project Africa organized a charity football match in Buea, the regional capital of the south west province, Cameroon. The purpose of the match was to mobilize support and solidarity for the less privileged youths and other vulnerable populations in the area. The event which ended with a three hour working session, brought together hundreds of participants and well-wishers to commemorate the kick-start of YPA activities in Cameroon. In attendance also was the Executive Director of the group and representatives of the Government. Mr Eta A. Constant, the Project Director of Cameroon, chaired the working session that also saw a number of projects selected for immediate implementation.



YPA Brainstorm session

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Today 31 students took part in a brainstorming session to share their ideas and build action plans on the project to improve the well-being and literacy of orphans in the region. The meeting was coordinated by YPA regional coordinator Mr. Joanes Eyong. Several projects have come out and we will inform you about this shortly.

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Welcome to Youth Project Africa. We are a charity network for education, vocational training and community development based in Cameroon with representation throughout Africa. Our main goal is to stand up for the youths and to serve as the pathway to empower youths and other underprivileged groups in education, health and community development. We create and offer scholarships and other grants based on needs and not merits.

We also18664318_1452777088120381_7521141131125932270_n conceive, plan, establish and organize educational and professional training programs and centres with specific focus and emphasis on women, the girl child, unemployed youths and physically challenged individuals and minority groups. The goal is to provide new skills, refine the existing skills and technical know-how. This will lead to employment, self-employment and generate income generation.  We also partner with other organizations to provide materials, tools and equipments to individuals, schools, health centers and community centers.

Youth Project Africa was initially registered in Japan in 2015 and in 2016 the group was given permit to carry on its activities by the government of Cameroon. We have a solid team of women and men who want to change the world. You are welcome to work with us in any of our projects. Kindly go through our site or contact us to find out how you can get involved.

Executive Director
Ayuk E. Mbi MSc