Measuring Labour Migration takes center-stage in Africa’s Annual Forum on Migration
Dakar, Senegal – On Saturday 11 September 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) supported the African Union (AU) and 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.”
Representatives from more than 40 countries, five regional economic communities and other organisations discussed cooperation, including measures African countries and stakeholders are developing to improve the regulation of labour migration during 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.
Since 2015, PAFOM, an AU interstate dialogue framework has brought together member states and stakeholders working on migration governance in Africa to share information and best practices on the governance of migration on the continent.
Aïssata Tall Sall, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted the need to strengthen governance of labour 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.”
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 in labour migration, with a view to implement sound labour policies that safeguard migrant workers’ rights, protection and access to benefits.
“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” said Aïssata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite slowdown in mobility in the past year and a half due to the COVID-19 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, and governance of labour migration is a key pillar of the revised Migration Policy Framework of the AU that was adopted by its Assembly in 2018.
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 programmes 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).