Teens escape dangerous London for safer Kenya
Admissions by the Somali community on British television have revealed that hundreds of British teenagers with an African heritage are being sent to East Africa by their parents to avoid knife crime in the UK.
Shattering all stereotypes, and reversing the myth that Africa is dangerous, British youths susceptible to gang violence believe places like Nairobi are a walk in the park compared to the tough streets of London.
Jamal Hassan, who mentors kids in London after being sent to Nairobi as a boy, says: “One of the things I’ll never forget, is the fact that when you walk in the streets in Kenya you don’t have to look over your shoulder. In Kenya I could travel in and out of the city, go and visit whoever I wanted, and it was good. I felt a sense of freedom.”
Of the 100 people stabbed to death in the UK so far this year, 8% were of Somali heritage, according to the Rise Projects, which works with young British Somalis in north London. Though the Foreign and Commonwealth Offi ce advises against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland, and highlights the heightened threat of terrorism and kidnappings across Kenya, many who are sent to the region end up staying.
One mother named Amina revealed her son became “studious” again after going to Somaliland – where the children reportedly take their studies seriously compared to the UK. But within 17 days of her son being brought back to the UK in 2018, he was stabbed four times.
“He’s been completely traumatised by the experience,” she says.
“They damaged his bladder, his kidneys, his liver. He’s got permanent damage.
“He was safer there [in Somaliland] than he was here… 100% more safe than in London.”
African free trade area comes into force The long-awaited African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) finally came into force on 30 May.
The combined trading bloc hopes to progressively eliminate tariffs, boost intra-African trade by 60% in three years and ultimately, unleash the $3tn potential of the continent’s combined markets.
Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt are among the 24 nations to have ratified the treaty and can begin trading freely.
While most other countries are expected to ratify the treaty in the near future, Benin, Nigeria and Eritrea are dragging their feet. The loss of Nigeria, Africa’s largest market, would be a major setback to the tariff-free zone.
The country’s powerful manufacturing unions are lobbying the government to withhold, fearing the local industry would lose its competitive advantage as foreign goods enter the market.