Measuring Labour Migration takes center-stage in Africa’s Annual Forum on Migration
Dakar, Senegal – On Saturday 11 September 2021, the International Organisation for migration (IOM) in collaboration with International Labour Organization (ILO) supported the African Union (AU), the Republic of Senegal, to launch the 6th Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFOM 6) under the theme: “Strengthening Labor Migration Governance in Africa in the context of a pandemic for accelerated socioeconomic development and continental Integration”.
In the two-day meeting, representatives from 49 countries, regional economic communities and organisations discussed collaboration and cooperation mechanisms, including measures African countries and stakeholders are developing to improve the regulation and governance of labour migration, to respond resiliently to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Improving the capacity of national and regional data collection systems for the timely generation of information that facilitates the movement, protection and integration of migrants was at the center of discussions as delegates assessed ongoing labour migration initiatives and programmes on the continent.
PAFOM is an AU interstate dialogue framework that from 2015 has brought member states and stakeholders working on migration governance in Africa to share information and best practices on the governance of migration on the continent.
The meeting was officially opened by H.E. Madame Aïssata Tall Sall, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese outside the Republic of Senegal, and Senegal took over the chairpersonship of the Forum for the next year from the outgoing lead, the Arab Republic of Egypt. Minister Aïssata Tall Sall, highlighted the need to strengthen governance of labor migration frameworks in Africa towards sustainable socio-economic development and the acceleration of continental integration. “Indeed, the integration of migrant workers in labour markets would promote the development of skills and the establishment of linkages that create values.”
In her opening remarks Madame Cisse Mariama Mohamed, Director for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development at the African Union Commission (AUC) said it is important to identify gaps and opportunities that exists within the area of labour migration, with a view to advance the implementation of sound labour and employment policies that safeguard migrant workers’ rights, protection and access to benefits.
Madame Aïssata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa on her part said, “the meeting is once again a testament to the commitment of African governments to finding solutions that represent our values and common objectives on a subject as important as migration. This was precisely the vision IOM had when the creation of PAFoM was initiated in 2015. And we are delighted to see the progress made in this Forum in recent years. None of this would have been possible without the leadership of the African Union Commission and the active engagement of its Member States.” Despite slowdown in mobility in the past year and a half due to the global pandemic, the movement of people in Africa has consistently increased over the years, with up to 80 per cent of migration taking place across borders on the continent.
There were 25.4 million total migrants with 14.4 million migrant workers in Africa in 2017 according to the second Labor Migration Statistics Report of 2019, with the majority involved in agriculture, trading, public administration, tourism and hospitality, and construction.
Labor migration governance is one of the key pillars of the revised AU Migration Policy Framework that was adopted by the AU Assembly in 2018 and is recognized as a key trigger of sustainable socioeconomic development and continental integration.
IOM has been working closely with the African Union Commission in developing policies and programmes for improved governance of migration on the continent since 2005, guided by the African Union’s development blueprint, Agenda 2063.
“Many participants over the last two days have referred to programs implemented jointly with IOM and their respective countries. We value this vote of confidence and will continue to seek your support to ensure that the development potential of migration is enhanced, and the challenges related to its management are tackled through the different programmatic interventions”, said Christopher Gascon, IOM Regional for Western and Central Africa in his closing remarks.
The main meeting was preceded by two side-events, on labour migration data gaps, as well as an annual meeting of African Union’s Labour Migration Advisory Committee (AU-LMAC) under the auspice of the AU-ILO-IOM-ECA Joint Programme on Labour Migration Governance for Development and Integration in Africa (JLMP).