[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Africa invests to stop migrants
African immigrants arriving in Tenerife
Some 6,000 migrants died trying to reach the Canaries last year
A $6bn development package for West Africa has been revealed which it is hoped will help halt the emigration of young people from the region.

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) says the money is to be used to improve living standards.

Thousands of migrants try to enter Europe illegally each year and hundreds die on often perilous sea journeys.

"This wave of migration, it is tragedy for Africa," Amadou Diop, an UEMOA adviser, told the BBC.

"You can improve the situation of people in our sub-region in terms of development, in terms of health, in terms of education. If we have success in the way, it is sure that people will have the opportunity to stay at home."

The $6bn package will be spent over the next five years.

The BBC's James Copnall in Ivory Coast says the aim of the UEMOA's eight members is a grand one: to create a Francophone West African bloc so prosperous no-one will want to leave.

Most of the money - about $5bn - was pledged by foreign donors and the African Development Bank as long ago as last November.

So a meeting of UEMOA MPs in Ivory Coast's capital, Abidjan, called for these grand development projects to start straight away.

Already a programme to drill 3,000 boreholes, to access water which is deep underground, has begun, our correspondent says.

This should benefit agriculture in the arid Sahel in particular.

And if people can earn money on their farms, there will be less reason for them to swell the desperate masses living on the edges of West Africa's big cities - and become prime candidates to seek to emigrate.

It is estimated that last year 6,000 people died after they took wooden boats to the Spanish Canary Islands, although many more do make it to Europe.

Map showing main migration routes




RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific