Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean - Introduction

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In the years 2014–2016, when arrivals of undocumented migrants and refugees arriving by sea to Europe surged to unprecedented numbers, a map of the north-west quarter of Africa made an appearance in European media. The map showed several lines,or arrows, spanning the Gulf of Guinea to the Mediterranean Sea some 4,000 km to the north. It sketched the land routes travelled by migrants and refugees from all corners of Africa to reach the Mediterranean Sea, from where they would embark to Europe. Two main routes were distinguished according to destination in Europe: the “Western Mediterranean Route” (WMR) for Spain and the “Central Mediterranean Route” (CMR) for Italy or Malta.