By Ajibola Abayomi
Submissions by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Sierra Leone, Alpha Timbo; Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State Nigeria; the International Organization for Migration, (IOM); Altec Global Incorporation, Canada and member, African Union Labour-Migration Advisory Committee, HE Dr Reverend A.K Ocansey top recommendations as parts of the fallouts of the recently concluded maiden edition of the African Migration Summit (AMS) held in Ghana.
This is as Timbo, the Chairman of the summit strongly recommended a legal framework as a modest means to facilitate regular migration and also to discourage the scourge of irregular migration from Africa.
The position was contained in an interim report of the AMS themed Labour Migration: Shifting The Paradigm To Benefit Africa held between February 25-26 in Accra organized by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) in partnership with the Nekotech Center of Excellence, Ghana with the participation of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Professor Patrick Lumumba from Kenya, Hon Tolulope Akande-Sadipe of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Professor Byron Price from America, former Canada’s minister of Immigration, Hon Gerry Weiner, Ambassadors and other scholars across the globe.
In a statement issued by the JIFORM President, Ajibola Abayomi, on Wednesday, he commended Timbo saying the summary of the presentations at the event submitted by the minister was germane to the economic growth of the continent especially in the area of labour migration.
Ajibola, said the summit welcomed the call on the media to use effective mass communication channels to promote international migration through gathering, analyzing and processing of information in strict compliance with the rigorous journalistic principles in order to give human face and voice especially to the migrants as championed by the IOM Nigeria was adopted by the stakeholders.
He stressed the need for more countries in Africa to key into the Assisted Voluntary Return And Reintegration as implemented by the IOM in Nigeria, Gambia and Ghana by studying the impacts of the programs for strategies to be adopted to the benefits of migrants that are Africans.
Timbo said that: “African countries must ensure that they put in place a legal and regulatory framework to facilitate regular migration and discourage irregular migration.
This, he further argued: “May include ratification and implementation of core International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions on migration, formation of National Labour Migration policies and ensure their implementations.
“Pressure groups – like civil society organizations, trade unions, journalists must put pressure on the political class to ensure they harness their resources aimed at improving the lives of their people” this he said would reduce the “urge that Africans develop to move for greener pastures outside the continent and also to exert pressure to formulate the policies and ratify the conventions on migration.”
Other recommendations at the two-day summit included a call on African States to make use of the opportunity provided by Canada to ensure that in 2021, about 401,000 Africans migrate to the country and work out modalities to also ensure that 411,000 and 421,000 migrants move to the north American nation in 2022 and 2023 respectively through regular means as provided for in the nation’s immigration chart.
On this, the summit noted five ways as itemized by the Chief Executive Officer of the Altec Global Inc, Susan Gong, namely: Express entry, start-up visa program, provincial nominee program, study permit, post-graduation work permit and the special French speaking skilled workers program.
Ajibola said the summit ratified the 10 keys to the African Labour Migration Paradigm shift in the Middle East – from Deadly to Decent Work as presented by Dr Ocansey ranging from policy restructuring to give room for financial support, job creation, push for Africa multilateral agreement with other continents on labour migration and others.
Worthy of emulation is the migration framework instituted by Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Nigeria that led to the creation of the first state owned Migration Control Services Agency, the first in the entire sub-Saharan African as a template for other African nations.
In this regard, a blueprint on women empowerment tailored towards production/manufacturing skills and access to quality education both at home and abroad to be able to brand, market and improve on their financial independence was suggested.
To benefit immensely from migration, the AMS submitted that African countries should officially create remittance channels that would be coordinated to ensure savings for the migrants.
In order to achieve the feat, the stakeholders recommended establishment of Labour Market Information Systems to enhance the process, reintegration mechanisms for migrants, enhancement of ministries dealing with migration, capacitate African missions abroad to handle migration issues by appointing Labour attaches and backed the establishment and implementation of stiffer penal measures to deal with private recruitment agents and other intermediaries that engage in illegal migration activities.