The Gambia and Spain pledge to tackle irregular migration

The Governments of The Gambia and Spain have pledged to work together to address irregular migration and tackle the social and economic challenges that drive people to migrate.

The President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, told the Spanish Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, that tackling the domestic socio-economic challenges facing The Gambia and other African countries must be at the forefront of any discussion on migration held by Spain and the EU.

President Barrow made the remarks during a meeting with Grande-Marlaska, which took place on 30 January 2019 in the Gambian capital of Banjul.

President Barrow said cooperation with European partners must focus on  development initiatives including empowering and building the capacity of  youth in The Gambia. He said that strengthening the national economy is critical in boosting job opportunities at home and deterring young Gambians from risking their lives by taking the backway to migrate abroad.

In recent years, many young Gambians have been driven to undertake irregular migration to Europe in search of better economic opportunities. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 8, 498 Gambians arrived in Europe in 2017. Spain has become a popular destination for migrants with over 50, 900 irregular migrants entering Spain from January to November in 2018, a huge increase to previous years, according to IOM.

Grande-Marlaska reiterated his government’s commitment to advancing and strengthening diplomatic ties with The Gambia.

During the meeting, Grande-Marlaska  reaffirmed his position on migration, saying, “We agreed that security should not be our only area of consideration. Other social and economic areas are equally important to security. If we want to get peaceful relations between Europe and Africa, we have to get into development.”

Grande-Marlaska added that Spain and The Gambia will work together to tackle irregular migration networks and transnational criminal organisations, as well as improve the capacity of Gambians, particularly in the area of civil protection.

TMP – 30/01/2019

Photo caption: Gambian President Adama Barrow and the Spanish Minister of Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska discuss migration issues at a meeting in the Gambian capital of Banjul.