Migration has the potential of bringing significant contribution to economic growth and human development in Africa, says Mr Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Speaking Thursday at the official opening of the African Regional Consultative Meeting on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Addis Ababa, Mr. Hamdok said it was crucial that Africa generated its own evidence, robust data and statistics to effectively implement, accurately measure, monitor, evaluate and report on activities and progress under the global compact.
He said around the world there’s a rise in anti-migrant sentiment and a prevalence of restrictive policies based on negative perceptions that are not factually correct.
As a result, he said, Africa must work to ensure that its narratives and priorities are adequately reflected in the six thematic areas of the global compact for migration, which will be the first, inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
“For the continent, it is crucial that the global compact on migration will set out a range of principles, commitments and understanding among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions; make an important contribution to global governance and enhance coordination on international migration; present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility; and deal with all aspects of international migration, including the humanitarian, developmental, human rights-related and other aspects of migration,” said Mr. Hamdok.
Beyond the adoption of the global compact, he said, sound and dynamic national policies and planning will be indispensable to the realization of the African outlook on migration.
Economic and social development policies and long-term vision will have to incorporate perspectives and concerns around migration
“For this to be achieved, economic and social development policies and long-term vision will have to incorporate perspectives and concerns around migration,” the ECA deputy Chief said.
He said it was sad that African migration was widely depicted as a phenomenon driven by poverty, violence and other forms of human misery.
“Yet, the African migration drive is not necessarily exceptional or essentially different from migration in and from other world regions,” said Mr. Hamdok.
For his part, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Aklilu Haile Michael, noted his country’s serious concern over the protection of the human rights of migrants in transit to destination countries of their choice the world over.
“It is high time that the global vision on migration is appropriately leveraged in a well-sorted and suitably articulated road map and implementation matrix,” he said.
Ms. Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary General on International Migration, said the world has every interest in managing migration better, given the expanding global population and the huge increase in people on the move.
Ms. Arbour said the global compact has to find ways that can address challenges that are connected to migration which can be implemented by Member States.
For her part, Ms. Erica Usher, Senior Policy Advisor and Member of the International Organization for Migration, Global Compact on Migration Core Team, said it was a fact that most migration was taking place within the same region.
“It is important that we use the opportunity of the global compact to address migration in all its complexities,” she said, adding this could be done through taking into consideration the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure there is safe, orderly and regular migration.
The outcome of this meeting will inform the Global Compact on Migration process which seeks to improve the governance on migration, address challenges associated with today’s migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.