Repatriating failed Gambian asylum seekers from Europe is one controversial condition of the European Union financial aid to The Gambia.
The EU is set to hold a “migration dialogue” with the Barrow administration which will include repatriation and resettlement of Gambians from Europe.
Gambia is one of the highest migrant-producing countries in Africa and over 13 thousand Gambians, almost half of the population of country’s capital Banjul, between the ages of 14 to 34 have sought asylum in Europe in 2016, EU data has shown.
A country of 1.9 million inhabitants, Gambia is a small strip of land divided by its namesake river into almost two equal halves and the population of its island capital Banjul is about 34,828.
Establishing migration dialogue was one of the things that the EU has discussed with President Adama Barrow
“Gambia needs all its sons and daughters here for its development,” said EU Commissioner Neven Mimica.
EU will be channeling funds to create jobs and provide vocational training to keep Gambian youths at home than to encourage them to resort to using the ‘backway’ to Europe.
The EU, which has given over €100 million to International Organisation for Migration to assist them to repatriate migrants who are stock in Libya or Niger and want to go back home to their respective countries, gave The Gambia at least €11 million that would give technical and vocational training with financial assistance to benefit at least 15,000 youths.
“We would like to support the voluntary returns of those Gambians that are stranded somewhere on roads to Libya and also Mediterranean because there are many of them and some are on the route in Niger or Libya,” Mr. Mimica said.
Gambian and EU authorities agreed that the migration dialogue will somehow incorporate the return and re-admission of the Gambian citizens through comprehensive return packages.
The return packages, according to officials, include not just repatriation but also the employment creation projects that will help returnees settle and gain employment in their home country.