The Dutch government is to invest €50m in the economic development of north Africa in order to encourage asylum seekers not to take a boat to Europe, development minister Lilianne Ploumen said on Tuesday.
‘We must do everything we can to prevent young Africans from getting into rickety boats,’ she says in an opinion piece in the Volkskrant. ‘It is better if the courage and ambition they show in undertaking the journey is used to build up their own country.’
Ploumen writes that just tracking down and destroying the boats used by people smugglers to get migrants to Europe is not enough to solve the problem.
The money will go to the Dutch Good Growth Fund, an investment fund that ties development aid to trade. The fund supports Dutch entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in Africa. Some of the money will also go towards economic development in countries such as Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana.
The minister says she realises €50m will not solve the problem but sees it as a signal to her European colleagues. ‘The current European plan is not concrete enough,’ she says.
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