IOM holds colloquium on migration in Accra

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has opened a three-day colloquium on Wednesday in Accra  to discuss the Diaspora Engagement Project.

The event is to solicit the views of Ghanaian migrants towards a more effective ways of linking citizens in the Diaspora to Ghana’s development agenda.

The project is aimed at contributing to efforts of government to mobilize Ghanaians in the Diaspora towards the country’s socio-economic development through strengthened dialogue and engagement.

The scheme is being managed by IOM in conjunction with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and the Interior, the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

About 60 participants, representing various Ghanaian professional and Home Associations in USA, UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, and officials of the IOM Missions abroad as well as stakeholders are taking part in the event.

Mr Ebenezer Appreko, Director, Legal and Consular Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, who read a speech on behalf Mr Chris Kpodo, Deputy Minister of the Sector, said: “the days of paying marginal attention to the people in the Diaspora were over, as the contribution of our compatriots abroad in the development of our country cannot be overemphasized”.

He said Ghanaians abroad now accounted for substantial portion of the country’s foreign exchange remittances while some made significant investments in education, banking, health and trade upon their return to Ghana.

Mr Kpodo said because Ghanaians abroad played crucial role in national development, government actively supported the Diaspora Engagement Project, which was focusing on five countries that had large concentration of Ghanaians.

This is to enable authorities learn about issues and challenges to improve upon the quality of services rendered to all Ghanaian communities overseas.

Mr Kpodo announced that very soon many of Ghana’s Missions abroad would be equipped to issue biometric passports to Ghanaians working abroad.

He said other creative measures were being examined to enhance the national capacity, to cater for the needs of families of Ghanaians abroad, who may fall in distress, become destitute or die.

Mr Kpodo advised potential migrants to be guided by the rate at which irregular Ghanaian migrants were being repatriated home for staying abroad illegally or overstaying their permits “and think carefully before making decisions to travel abroad”.

He appealed to Ghanaians living abroad to be law-abiding and asked Ghanaian migrants to refrain from using unapproved or illegal routes and fake travel documents.

Ms Dyane Epstein, Chief of Mission, IOM, said at the moment about 3,000,000 million Ghanaians or persons with Ghanaian heritage lived outside the country, which had presented unique challenges in ensuring their continued interest and involvement in their country of origin.

She the Colloquium, which was a final stage of a year -long event, designed under the Diaspora Engagement Project, would afford participants opportunity to create a Diaspora website and a Diaspora unit under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to continue the process that had been started.

There was a presentation on a proposed national migration policy, which was being developed for Cabinet for onward transmission to Parliament to be passed into a law.

Source: GNA

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