The mission is led by Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr, ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, and is expected to draw up an appropriate recovery and reintegration plan for the migrants.
The team, made up of ECOWAS experts and representatives of the most affected member states (Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Niger, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Benin), has been in Niamey since on September 26, 2022, with the support of the International Office for Migration (IOM).
The mission’s activities began on Tuesday, September 27, with a visit to the Agadez migrant center, followed by a meeting in Agadez Governorate with the authorities in charge of the vast region of northern Niger along the borders with Algeria, Chad, Libya and Mali, which is facing a massive flow of migrants expelled from Algeria and Libya to a lesser extent.
During the visit to the IOM-led center in Agadez, Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr accompanied by HE N’dri Guillaume Gnamien, ECOWAS Resident Representative in Niger, held talks with Niger’s Minister of Health, Mr. Illiassou Mainassara and the Governor of Agadez.
The mission’s program also includes a two-day roundtable, to take place on 28-29 September 2022, between ECOWAS, representatives of the most affected Member States, IOM and the Nigerien authorities to share points of view and discuss sustainable and effective strategies to ensure adequate care for migrants in Niger, as well as their return and reintegration in their country of origin.
In her opening speech, Professor Fatou Sow Sarr expressed concern about the number of women and young children among the migrants and the number of people who lost their lives during their attempt to migrate or during their expulsion from Algeria or Libya.
She praised the efforts of IOM, which is working with the Nigerien authorities to receive the migrants and repatriate them to their respective countries.
“The ECOWAS Commission stands ready to support member states in addressing the challenges related to the irregular migration of citizens from the region,” concluded Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Niger’s Minister for Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, Mr. Magagi Laouan, welcomed the efforts of ECOWAS and its technical and financial partners, in particular IOM, for their support in management of the migration crisis in the West African region.
as well as its support to Niger in the care of migrants.
It should be noted that Commissioner Fatou Sow Sarr and HE N’dri Guillaume Gnamien attended the opening of the round table on the financing of Niger’s national migration policy 2020-2035 and its first five-year action plan, chaired by HE Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, Prime Minister of Niger, on the morning of Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
At the end of their mission in Niger, the experts and representatives of the Member States present in Niger will draw up an action plan and make recommendations to the ECOWAS authorities, Member States and partners in order to propose adequate solutions in the short, medium and long term for the proper management of transit migration in Niger.