Never underestimate the human will to seek a better life — even in the face of immense danger.

A UNHCR unofficial estimate suggests that some 57,000 people may have died over the past five years trying to get to Europe from Africa. That’s more than 31 deaths per day. Let that sink in.

And here’s the kicker: those deaths are not all at sea. In fact, Vincent Cochetel, a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) special envoy for the central Mediterranean, said in an interview with a German newspaper that around twice as many migrants die crossing Africa to get to the coast as they do crossing the Mediterranean.

With 19,000 deaths in the Mediterranean waters since 2014, that would amount to some 38,000 deaths on land – a total of 57,000.

Again, 31 deaths per day. And with Africa’s demographic numbers – potentially a doubling of the continent’s population by 2050 — this is one of the great challenges of our era. No matter how bullish one is on Africa’s promise and its economic potential (consider me one of the bulls), it will be hard to imagine creating enough jobs in the short to medium term to stem this flow.

For more, see this piece in DW.

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