Excerpt of Speech by H.E. Paul BIYA, President of the Republic of Cameroon, in Response to New Year Wishes from the Diplomatic Corps in Yaoundé, January 6, 2006. (My Translation).
"I cannot ignore an issue that affects relations between African countries and the rest of the world, particularly Europe. I am talking about what is commonly referred to as "illegal immigration". Indeed, every year, thousands of African attempt to make it to Europe on their own, often at the risk of their lives. Some make it. The majority do not, with the human tragedy that this involves as we saw recently.
It is necessary to ask ourselves this question: Why do these Africans, young people for the most part, leave their families and their countries? Obviously in search of a better life. In this respect, let us remember that during the second half of the 19th century, millions of Europeans, driven by misery and famine and displaced by conflict, crossed the Atlantic in search of a new life. I am simply saying that this spontaneous emigration of thousands of Africans is similar.