IOM calls for better migration laws in Africa

TMP – 31/03/2017

An official from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has called on African governments to advance a legal framework that will allow migrants looking for work to travel freely within the continent.

Explaining how most African migrants prefer to work and stay within the continent, Aron Teklezghi said: “If you don’t allow Africans to travel freely within the continent, it is a mistake to expect Europe to accept African migrants.”

He made the call at a forum organized by the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI) in Addis Ababa on 10 March 2017, where he presented a paper on illicit migration in the region and its implications.

“Unless we expand the legal route for the migrants, which is less costly, people will continue to choose the illegal route even though they know it is very risky,” he said.

Teklezghi directed his call towards the governments of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti, the eight member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region, which are also the major sources of inward and outward migration.

These countries represent eight million migrants, of whom 5.6 million are displaced, while the remaining live in other African countries, the Middle East, the Gulf countries, Europe and North America, according to IOM.

During the forum, the Managing Director of HESPI said that high population growth and rising unemployment and underemployment, particularly among the youth, are some of the drivers of immigration in the IGAD region.

The African Union’s Commission has been working on programmes to ease the predicaments African migrants face in moving freely within the continent.

Peter Mudungwe, a migration advisor to the Commission, confirmed during the forum that a 10-year programme that would allow African labourers  to move and work freely within the continent, had been prepared. The aim is to get the plan approved by the heads of state of the African Union by early 2018.