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AU, IOM, ECOWAS review migration goverce as migrant remittances dwarf FDI

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AU, IOM, ECOWAS review migration goverce as migrant remittances dwarf FDI

By Ifeanyi Nwoko / Henrietta Deme

Stakeholders in the West African sub-region met on Tuesday to discuss priorities for ensuring safe, orderly and regular migration, as enshrined in the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Representatives of the International Organization (IOM), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who are at the top of the list of stakeholders, organize a consultation of 3 days on the implementation of the Global Compact.

The Global Compact is the first agreement negotiated at the intergovernmental level, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, covering all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

This is happening even as all member states agree that migration is very important for the economic development of the sub-region, with foreign remittances by migrants now exceeding foreign direct investment (FDI).

Ghanaian Interior Minister Ambrose Dery, who declared the consultation open, said migration has become very important for the socio-economic development of Africa.

Citing available statistics, he said with migrant remittances now exceeding FDI, migration issues should be prioritized so that its benefits “are exploited while limiting its limitations.”

“Migration, as we know, has assumed an important role in the global agenda due to its prospects for social and economic development and has been recognized by policy makers and leaders of nations.

“In Ghana, for example, the contribution of migrants has played a big role in shaping our national development over the years.

“We cannot ignore the many benefits of migration, for example, the flow of remittances from migrants to African countries is now expected to exceed foreign direct investment and official national assistance.

“The complex migration dynamics facing Member States means that in addition to the benefits of migration, there are also challenges. “

He said some of the specific challenges of migration included the movement of people from rural areas to urban centers, resulting in rapid urbanization.

Dery also said the growing trend of trafficking, smuggling of migrants and abuse of migrants’ rights were also among the challenges.

He added that migration remains a hot issue in Africa and that one area African countries need to harness and develop new policies and evolve a national agenda on migration.

The minister stressed the need to nip the root causes of irregular migration in the bud so that young Africans can stop risking their lives.

“GCM offers a perspective of improving migration governance and responding to the challenges facing migration while enhancing the contributions of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

“It also complements the Sustainable Development Goals and provides a framework for international cooperation,” he said.

Speaking, Nigerian Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar, said migration has its own economic and social values ​​that need to be harnessed.

The minister who was represented by Professor Fatima Azi, director general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the vulnerability of migrants.

She said there should be collaboration on the global stage to deal with migration issues, stressing that West Africa takes migration issues seriously.

“Migration issues have provoked the most exchanges of values, cultures and resources which have contributed to unity in diversity in the ECOWAS region.

“We have a rich diaspora base whose social and economic remittances help the government achieve desired development goals,” she said.

However, she said that there were negative impacts around migration which however need to be addressed, hence the need for collaborative efforts of all actors to manage migration.

For her part, IOM’s Senior Regional Advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa, Aissata Kane, acknowledged that the presence of the AU, ECOWAS and the United Nations Regional Migration Network for Africa ‘West and Central was a clear demonstration of their commitment to the joint commitment to better governance of migration.

She explained that the PMM was not just a set of goals to be implemented by all stakeholders, but rather a shared vision that migration can benefit migrants, their communities and their countries, if it is is well-managed and people-centered.

She informed participants that the African regional review of the GMC had just been concluded with African countries committing to the 23 GMC goals, noting that this was a sign of progress.

Kane also noted that in West Africa, ECOWAS was committed to facilitating mobility through its 1979 Protocol on the Free Movement of People and Goods.

“The exchange between ECOWAS member states is crucial. I am convinced that what brings us together is the common and shared approach to migration which we see as a source of opportunity rather than a problem-solving challenge.

“This is in fact what the Global Compact for Migration aims to support.

“The Global Compact lays the foundation for renewed and strengthened partnerships, which reflect multifaceted priorities and coherent and complementary responses to emerging challenges related to migration and, more importantly, to its formidable opportunities.

“This engagement is particularly relevant with the number of ECOWAS countries that are GCM champions such as Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal and more recently Niger,” she said.

The Senior Advisor underlined that for IOM, the Global Compact offers an approach that fits perfectly into the new working methods of the United Nations to meet the development priorities of West Africa.

In his welcoming speech to the participants, ECOWAS President Jean Claude-Brou said that while migration is an integral part of development, it also portends risks, hence the consultation on the PMM.

Brou, who was represented by Albert Boateng of the ECOWAS Commission, said that ECOWAS over the years had preserved the achievements of regional integration and that he said they were essential for a successful implementation. of PMM.

“We do not dispute that there are still gaps in the context of migration within the region. The citizens of the community continue to migrate irregularly, losing their lives as they embark on these perilous journeys.

“It is in this regard that the ECOWAS Commission since its inception has put in place policies, frameworks and tools to ensure that migration is undertaken in a safe, orderly and regular manner.

“In addition to these internal policies, the ECOWAS Commission and its member states have aligned their practices with policies related to international migration for which the PMM is a major key framework.

“I firmly believe that the ECOWAS Community has the capacity to implement and operationalize the PMM,” he said.

He therefore called on Member States to tackle the drivers of migration that reduce poverty, create jobs and promote good governance.

It also tasked ECOWAS countries to design and implement interventions promoting the full implementation of the 1979 ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol and to promote and support the movement of labor within the region. region.

He also called on members to invest in border management tools and initiatives and to establish high standards of border management and fair and transparent immigration processes.

Source: NAN

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