The Labour Mobility and Human Development (LHD) covers the following key portfolios: Migration and Development including Migrants’ Rights, Migration Governance, Diaspora Engagement, Remittances, Labour Mobility, and Bilateral Labour Agreements. Youth and gender issues are covered under several cross-thematic projects in the region as youth account of more than 50% of the active working population in most of the countries.  

Under the portfolio of Migration and Development, LHD has focused on providing capacity building on various topics pertaining to labour migration and migration and development in the region. LHD focal points in each country mission have been able to increase their knowledge and skills on LHD issues, expand their professional network, and strengthen relationships with government officials, international donors and other key stakeholders working in the migration and development arena.

A major area of focus within the migration and development portfolio has been diaspora engagement. Diaspora engagement in the region has largely revolved around the development and implementation of knowledge and skills transfer mechanisms, including those especially targeting the youth and women. In this regard, diaspora mapping exercises are currently being undertaken in several countries of destination. Diaspora outreach measures, including consultations, focus group discussions, and sensitization meetings are being conducted simultaneously in the above-mentioned countries.

Under the portfolio of remittances, IOM has supported the establishment and operationalization of the African Union Commission’s African Institute for Remittances (AIR) in Nairobi.  IOM is also the chief implementer of the ACP-EU Migration Action, which supports Dialogue on Migration and Development between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and European (EU) countries. The Action provides technical assistance to ACP Governments, funding to Non-State Actor projects, and produces and spreads information on its work.

Under labour mobility, IOM organized a Pan-African Symposium on Fostering Labour Mobility within and from Africa. The aim of the symposium was to foster intra-regional labour mobility within Africa and to protect the fundamental human, labour, and social rights of workers migrating within the continent and from the continent. The symposium was organized jointly with the African Union Commission (AUC), with generous funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Dutch Embassy in Addis Ababa, the IOM Development Fund (IDF), and the European Union (EU). Under labour mobility, IOM continues to provide technical expertise to support governments in the region to develop bilateral labour agreements that provide for better protection to the migrant workers originating within the region.

Another key regional project on labour mobility is the EAC Project funded by the IOM Development Fund. The first phase of the project was a pilot that covered Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Two key activities which have been carried out under the project are;

  • capacity-building/training of trainers (ToT) on labour mobility and one-stop border posts (OSBPs) and 
  • the commissioning of a comparative study on the free movement of workers in the four targeted EAC countries.