Berlin / Beirut (dpa) – Ten years after the Arab uprisings, there is still a strong willingness to migrate to various countries in the region. This is the result of an investigation on behalf of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in six Arab states, which is available to the German news agency.
In Lebanon and Tunisia, for example, about a third of respondents said they had considered leaving their country in the past 12 months. In Jordan this was 26 percent, in Morocco 19 percent.
A large majority gave economic reasons, it is said. The target for potential migrants is therefore mainly countries in the west, especially Europe. The 18 to 29 age group are significantly more willing to migrate than the elderly. In addition, men are more likely to want to emigrate than women.
However, Lebanon is the only country where readiness has increased compared to a 2018 survey – from 26 to 34 percent. While it remained unchanged in Tunisia, it fell (now 31 percent) in Morocco, as well as in Libya and Algeria (both 16 percent), according to the study. The study authors suspect that the reason for this is the strict travel restrictions during the corona pandemic.
The turnout in Lebanon is not surprising. The country is going through one of the worst economic and financial crises in its history. The catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut last August and the corona pandemic made the situation even worse. More than half of the population lives in poverty. In the KAS survey, for example, less than one percent indicated that the economic situation was good.
But even in Tunisia, only three percent see a good or very good economic situation in their country. In comparison: in Morocco this is 39 percent. The Arab uprisings started ten years ago in Tunisia. It is also the only country in the region that has made the transition to democracy. However, there have been several anti-government demonstrations in recent days. The country has long suffered from a serious economic crisis.
Support for democracy is also lowest in Tunisia. Only 33 percent answered yes to the question whether their country should have a parliamentary system with free party competition. In Libya this was 56 percent, in Morocco and Lebanon each 51 percent.
In Tunisia, the authors acknowledge frustration with a political system that has not noticeably improved people’s lives. 61 percent also agreed that parliament should be abolished and replaced by a strong leader.
Nevertheless, in Tunisia there is not only shade but also light, said Thomas Volk, head of KAS’s Southern Mediterranean Regional Political Dialogue Program. People would appreciate freedom of assembly, speech and freedom of the press. There is also a high level of approval for civil society. “That shows that there is a civil society,” said Volk. “That is a positive result.”
In general, however, relatively few respondents see a representative parliament as part of the solution. Instead, a majority focus on a leader and their ability to make necessary reforms. The citizens of the region are frustrated that governments have failed to address the key issues that led to the 2011 uprising, the authors said.
According to the survey, Germany enjoys a good reputation in the region. In Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, more than 70 percent have a positive image of Germany, in Libya and Lebanon more than 50 percent. This is likely due to Germany’s lack of colonial history in the region and the reception of refugees.
For the representative study, nearly 11,000 people in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Jordan and Lebanon were interviewed on behalf of KAS between October and December last year. It will be officially presented on Wednesday.