About 12 million people in West and Central Africa are on the move every year – more than half of them children, a new report by the UN children’s agency, Unicef, says.
The report says the mass migration is caused by several factors including rapid population growth, conflict and climate change.
At no time in history, says Unicef, have so many people in the two regions been on the move. Seven million children are among those who cross borders every year.
Much of the movement in the region is legal, especially in West Africa where a union facilitates regular migration.
hile Europe may be focused on Africans crossing the Mediterranean, this report highlights the fact the vast majority of migrants are staying within the continent itself.
But Unicef warns that the huge numbers are putting enormous pressure on already fragile government services – and that young children often fall through the cracks.
The report says the reasons for migration are complex but says climate change is one of the major factors.
It says severe flooding and droughts are making some forms of agriculture increasingly unsustainable.