IOM Hands Over an 80-bed Migrant Centre to Malian Authorities

Partial view of the Gao Transit Centre for Migrants. Photos: IOM Mali 2023 / Ismaël Diallo

Partial view of the Gao Transit Centre for Migrants. Photos: IOM Mali 2023 / Ismaël Diallo

Mali, Gao – On 25 October 2023 in Gao, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Mali made a symbolic handover to the Malian authorities of an 80-bed migrant centre built with support from Italy.

Located in Sanèye, the sixth district of the urban commune of Gao, the newly built migrant centre covers an area of 3,500 square metres. It has 8 dormitories with a capacity of 10 beds each, toilets and showers, a kitchen, refectory, nurse’s room, recreation room, games area, shop, offices, waiting room, training room, area for security agents and laundry room. Built in compliance with IOM Migrant Centres Toolkit, this facility will provide on-site assistance to migrants who become vulnerable during their transit through Gao. It can offer services such as accommodation, food, medical care, psychosocial assistance, as well as migrant protection. It will be managed by the State, after a training for staff on how best to set up and run migrant centres.

At the symbolic handover of the centre, Aly Ag HATT, Chargé de Mission in the Office of the Minister of Malians Abroad and African Integration, stressed the importance of the project. “The purpose of this centre is to welcome, assist, inform and guide migrants in transit, who are often in distress,” he said.

“The construction and equipping of the new centre, which has been handed over to the Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration, proves IOM’s commitment to supporting the Government in this noble mission,” added General Moussa TRAORE, Governor of the Gao Region, in an interview on the importance of the new migrant centre in his region.

Based on IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), Gao is a major transit city for irregular migrants on the Mediterranean routes. The new migrant centre was built with the support of Italy, as part of a project to build the Malian Government’s capacity to assist migrants in need.

“The first victims of irregular migration are migrants themselves. This is why Italy has funded the construction of this centre to assist migrants in distress, but also provide alternatives to irregular migration by raising awareness about the associated risks, as well as providing concrete and immediate opportunities,” highlighted Stephano A. DEJAK, Italy’s Ambassador to Mali.

To date, Mali has 16 migrant centres rehabilitated or equipped by IOM, with the support of its partners. For Olivier GROSJEAN, IOM’s Chief of Mission a.i. in Mali, these centres provide a specialized response to vulnerable migrant protection needs. “According to the latest IOM report on return and reintegration, there are a growing number of migrants in vulnerable situations, and there is a greater need to ensure that specialized and appropriate protection is available. The migrant centre network, which includes the one we have just built in Gao, is the cornerstone of this specialized protection,” he said.

Since 2017, more than 40,000 Malian and international migrants have been assisted by IOM and its partners to return home in safety and dignity through a migrant transit centre.


For more information, please contact :

IOM Mali Public Information Unit. E-mail:, Tel.: +223 90 50 00 06.

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