ECA and AUC to tackle migration narrative and barriers in Africa
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) have launched a joint project aimed at shaping a positive narrative and eliminating barriers to safe international migration within Africa.
The project, entitled ‘International Migration in Africa: Shaping a Positive Narrative and Removing Barriers to Mobility’, has received $2.5 million in funding from Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Leveraging the institutional strengths of both ECA and AUC, the project will focus on six key thematic areas to address migration challenges in Africa:
Promoting economic empowerment of migrant women; Improving migration statistics and strengthening the legal identity of migrants in East and Horn of Africa; Supporting the African Union’s (AU) Technical Assistance Facility on Migration Governance; Combating irregular migration in African Union Horn of Africa Initiative Member States and along migration corridors; Strengthening cross-border infectious disease surveillance and data collection on migrants’ health; and Enhancing free movement and labour mobility in Africa.
The project was officially unveiled during a ceremony held at ECA’s headquarters in Addis Ababa on 29 May 2023. The ceremony was attended by Ms. Hanan Morsy, Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist at ECA, Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, the AUC’s Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development and Ambassador Alberto Bertini, representing the Italian Delegation to the AU and ECA.
In her remarks, Ms. Morsy emphasized the potential of migration in driving growth and development and stressed the importance of protecting migrants’ rights and implementing effective migration policies for the prosperity of both origin and destination societies.
She added: “Through this project, the role of ECA and AUC is to make Africa see the need and imperative to mainstream migration into its development planning for economic transformation and job creation.”
Ms. Morsy also stressed the need for swift ratification of the African Union protocol on free movement, the recognition of migrants’ potential within the African Continental Free Trade Area, and the promotion of legal identity for migrants.
For his part, Ambassador Bertini reiterated his government’s unwavering support for the project and commended the collaboration between the AUC and ECA in pursuing its objectives.
Highlighting the intrinsic nature of migration in today’s globalized world, Ambassador Cessouma said it is crucial to implement the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons to eliminate blockades to the movement of people within the continent and to allow African countries to secure the benefits of regular labour migration – since most Africans migrate within the continent.
“Improved access to regular migration opportunities and integration infrastructure will enhance the well-being of migrants, drive economic growth, and foster social connections across societies,” she stressed.
The two-year project will encompass a range of interventions, including improved data collection, enhanced research capacity, and strengthened policymaking on legal migration. It aims to raise awareness about the benefits of migration while preventing negative outcomes associated with it.