The life-threatening journey to Europe that many young people from West Africa are embarking on is the subject of DW's latest multi-media project, "The Migration Dilemma."
Recordings of public debates in three African countries and reports illustrate the multiple dangers that migrants face on their journey – from the remorselessness of human traffickers to the insecure outlook for those arriving in Europe.
Reporters and correspondents from the DW French, Hausa and English editorial teams spoke to people throughout Europe and Africa over several months, interviewing refugees, voluntary returnees and relatives left behind by those who decided flee. They report on local and international jobs initiatives and discuss with young Africans their expectations for a new life in Europe.
"We have kicked off a dialogue that hasn't yet been addressed in many places," said Claus Stäcker, head of DW's Africa program and the initiator of the project. "Although these debates on the ground became controversial and heated, the young people were grateful that we brought them to the table with political players and decision-makers."
At the DW event in Niamey, Niger's capital city, the country's Employment Minister Yahouza Sadissou told the audience that "we cannot do this alone." His country is facing a true migration dilemma, as the city of Agadez has become a gathering point for countless people from around West Africa who are preparing to embark on the illegal journey to Europe. With support from Germany and other countries, Sadissou has worked to create hundreds of thousands of jobs since 2011, though the advancements are hardly discernible.
"If Europe were to open their gates to those workers who only want to work abroad for a limited time, that could save many lives," said Aliyu Bormou from the Youth Movement for Development and Education. "Increased emigration will endanger development here. Only we Africans can help our continent to develop," said Bormou.
DW's Africa program came up with the idea for the multi-media project which was codeveloped and supported by Germany's Federal Foreign Office.
In West Africa, DW has a network of around 140 local correspondents. Every week its radio broadcasts reach up to 34 percent of the adult populations in the region. The number of Facebook fans in these three languages is around 1,000,000.