Susan Gong, the Chief Executive Officer of the Altec Global Inc, Canada; foremost activist Professor Patrick Lumumba; Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the former Minister of Immigration Canada, Gerry Weiner showed class at the maiden edition of the African Migration summit unveiled by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo on February 25 at the Accra International Conference Center.
The dignitaries were honoured with the African migration meritorious awards for their contributions to the positive migration on the continent at the event organized by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) in partnership with the Nekotech Center of Excellence, Ghana.
While Susan identified and proffered solutions to various reasons Africans were denied Canada visa over the years, IOM lectured the media on the importance of factual reporting relating to migration and benefits accrued from Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegration (AVRR) of migrants, thus, Lumumba in his usual elements, carpeted the African leaders for contributing to the woes of irregular migrants that were Africans and called for a change of attitude to better the fortunes of the youths on the continent.
The summit themed Labour Migration: Shifting The Paradigm To Benefit Africa chaired by Alpha Timbo, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Sierra Leone had highly placed dignitaries in attendance that included, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade.
Others at the virtual cum physical event were Claudia Turbay Quintero, the Colombian ambassador in Ghana and the Dean of all foreign mission corps; Chairman Nigeria House of Representatives Diaspora Committee, Hon Tolulope Akande-Sadipe and member African Union Labour-Migration Advisory Committee, Dr Princess Ocansey and others.
Speaking, President Nana praised the organizers of the event saying it was a good development that would reshape the migration policies in several African countries if sustained.
The president, represented by Mr Akwasi Awua Ababio, the Director Diaspora Affairs at the Presidency, pledged that Ghana shall continue to protect the interest of her citizens abroad as evident in the rescue of about 2000 Ghanaians from slavery in the Middle East recently.
President of JIFORM, Ajibola Abayomi while delivering the opening remark said the summit was put together to galvanize support for a review of migration policies in order to make Africa reap THE benefits from huge human and mineral resources being exported from the continent with a view to encourage regular migration as well.
“We can longer live in denial that all is well. Thousands of souls of future leaders are perishing on the Mediterranean Sea as a result of irregular migration. In 2020 according to the United Nations out of about 3,101 migrants that died globally while trying to reach their destinations, 1,483 of them were Africans.
“The agony of several African migrants in the Middle East being enslaved under the Kafala System is an open secret as being witnessed in Lebanon, Yemen, Omani, Saudi Arabia and others” he said.
The keynote speaker, Governor Ayade submitted that migration has the capacity to turn around the fortune of African economy if done properly.
His words: “For example in a report in 2019, remittance from Nigerians in diaspora contributed to over 5 percent of Nigeria’s GDP, this example is widespread across Africa as Migrants of Africa origin are key contributors to their nation’s GDP.
“The diaspora plays a key role in Africa’s development story, today the value of remittances is three times larger than official development assistance (ODA). That’s million upon million of dollars” said Prince Michael Nku Abuo Wellington, the Director General Migration Control Agency, Cross River state who represented the governor.
According to him, the state was ready to facilitate regular migration and access opportunities in the international community in the EU, UK,Canada, US, Australia, Germany and Japan.
Ambassador Claudia described the summit as a breakthrough for Africa saying “you people have love and intelligence. I will say you are a miracle worker. This will go a long way to improve migration trends” she said.
Dr Ocansey who doubles as chairman of NEKOTECH center called for a review of labour migration policies to negotiate the deadly works Africans were exposed to abroad and substitute such with decent works.
The best selling author of a book titled Deadly Work or Decent Work? Noted that Africans enslavement abroad”is an alarming revelation leading to an urgent outcry and humble appeal to Middle Eastern and African leaders for the abolishment of the horrifying archaic migrant employment hiring system in the Middle East call Kafala.
“This eye-opening book journeys deeply into the trenches, bringing us face to face with the mind boggling violent experiences of the most vulnerable migrant workers: women domestic workers – whose plights have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 era.”
The summit attracted participation of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia; H.E. Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett- Head of Mission Diaspora African Forum, H.E. Ambassador Winifred Nii Okai Hammond, Ghana’s Ambassador to Egypt, Rev. Dr. Lawrence Tetteh, Professor Joseph Teye, Director of Migration Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Byon Price of Diaspora Institute, America, Migration Forum Asia, Rebirth Hub Africa, Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Institute of Development, Dr. Williams Azuma Ijoma, President of Organisation pour l’Intégration Africaine Lomé, Togo. and others.