Social and Economic Integration/participation of Sub-Saharan African Adults into Finnish Society

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Title: Social and Economic Integration/participation of Sub-Saharan African Adults into Finnish Society
Author: Berhanu, Yeteshawork B.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Policy
Date: 2001-01-01
Language: en
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: The objective of this study is to evaluate the social and economic integration/participation of sub-Saharan Africans into Finnish society and to come up with possible recommendations which would smoothen and facilitate their social and economic participation. This study is based on literature, documents, and statistics and also on interviews of 28 sub-Saharan Africans from Somalia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria. In this study social integration refers to immigrants' social contact and relations with the Finnish society, while economic integration deals with immigrants' participation in the labour market. The result of the study shows that because of dissimilar pre-and post-immigration factors, African immigrants and refugees have diverging social and economic participation and experiences. The educational level, religion, and culture as pre-immigration factors and Finnish language skills, racism, and the high national unemployment rate as post-immigration factors, all are affecting the socio-economic integration of Black Africans. Theoretically it might be thought that immigrants unlike refugees are in a better position to integrate themselves socially and economically, as they immigrated to Finland with some possibility of finding out what awaits them. But the experience of sub-Saharan Africans shows that being an immigrant or a refugee does not have much to do with one's integration into Finnish society with the exception of most of the Somali housewives whose social and economic withdrawal has marginalized them from participating in Finnish society. The information gathered from the interviewees shows also that most of those who have good knowledge of the Finnish language and who did their studies in Finland are economically integrated. Socialisation of black African immigrants and refugees with the majority population is limited because of negative prejudices. Both casual and intimate relations is mainly with Finnish women. After discussions concerning three different immigrant integration models of Anglo-Saxon countries (deliberated by J. Rex, S. Castles and others) and evaluation of the social and economic participation of Black Africans, this study affirms the salience of having a multicultural integration policy for the good of both the host society and immigrants. Preparing effective anti-discrimination laws and setting up governmental or non-governmental monitoring body, arranging intensive and tailored Finnish language courses, building trust between the police and immigrants, and positive and unbiased media coverage of immigrants' would lay the basis for effective social and economic participation of African immigrants and refugees.
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