Morocco, first destination country for French emigration in Africa

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has just published its report on the French abroad. About 14% of French people abroad registered at consulates are in Africa. Morocco is their first destination on the continent. The details.

As it does every year, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes a report on the French abroad. The Quai d’Orsay estimates the French presence abroad at 3.4 million people on five continents, equivalent to 5% of the French population. According to the report, around 14% of French people abroad registered with consulates are in Africa, including 117,500 in French-speaking Africa and 109,000 in North Africa in 2020, where the registered French community fell by 6.9% between 2019 and 2020 and now stands at 109,173 (6.5% of those registered in the French abroad register). Thus, the French community in Morocco recorded an overall drop of 4.3%. It falls from 5.8% in Rabat, 5.6% in Fez, 4.5% in Marrakech, to 3.6% in Casablanca, 3.4% in Tangiers and 3.3% in Agadir.

In North Africa, the decrease is more significant in Algeria. It is 12%. The country saw its French community fall by 15% in Algiers, 9.3% in Oran and 8.1% in Annaba. While Libya also saw its French community fall by 10%, this ratio was 3.6% in Tunisia.

Moreover, non-French-speaking Africa attracts much less, even though Nigeria (1,177 registered in 2019, 800 in 2020) is France’s fourth largest African trading partner, after Tunisia and before South Africa (7,300 registered). Africa thus represents the third continent of destination for French emigration after Europe (400,000 in the EU zone and 350,000 outside the EU) and North America (275,000, including nearly 100,000 in Canada). Next come the Middle East (150,000) and Asia-Oceania (150,000).

The top destination countries for French ‘expatriates’, which include both working people and retirees, are Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany, in that order. Morocco and Algeria represent the 8th and 11th destinations, Tunisia the 18th, before Senegal (19th), Côte d’Ivoire (22nd) and Madagascar (24th). Thus, on the African continent, the Kingdom is the leading destination country for French emigration. In 2020, the pandemic caused a decline in their numbers everywhere. Except in Senegal (+1.8%), one of the few countries to attract more French people in 2020, along with Cambodia, Turkey, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, according to the report.

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