Lusaka — A two-day consultative process on global compact for the safe, orderly and regular migration in southern Africa ended on 22nd September in Lusaka, Zambia. Five meetings on the Global Compact are being undertaken on the continent. . It was noted that migration has become a major issue that poses opportunities and challenges for all countries. Thus, the consultative meetings would offer Africa the opportunity to make significant and far-reaching inputs so that the Compact address the concerns of Africa.
The brainstorming and discussions revolved around six key thematic areas of the migration question as framed by the global compact project and these include; human rights of all migrants and the issue of social inclusion and cohesion, addressing drivers of migration, international cooperation and governance of migration in all dimensions, contributions of migrants and diaspora, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons, and irregular migration and regular pathways.
Mr. William Muhwava Chief, Population and Youth Social Development Policy Division at ECA said the objectives of the two day consultative process was to come up with principles, commitments and understandings between UN states regarding all dimensions of international migration; to creating a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on the subject of migration and mobility.
In her opening remarks Prof. Elwyn Chomba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Homes Affairs, Zambia stated that African migration was not accurately portrayed as evidence shows that intra-African migration dominates migration flows on the continent (82%) and only a small proportion of Africans migrate to Europe (12%) and other continents (6%).
She further said that, despite the disadvantages that migrations bring about such as brain drain associated with the migration of, for example engineers, teachers, doctors and nurses, it also offered immerse benefits such as facilitating trade, investment, and transfers of technology. "As a continent, we need to reflect how we are handling the issue of migration as it is one of the vehicles for Africa's structural transformation and development", she said.
For his part, Said Adejumobi, Director of ECA SRO-SA, said that migration is a critical issue of our time, apart from climate change. "Migration in Africa does not only assume international dimension but also intra-regional pattern as well", Mr. Adejumobi noted. The SRO-SA director also noted that migration has been central to human and societal development transformation. "Most successful countries are either migrant nations or enjoyed the services of migrants unhindered", he said.
However, Mr. Adejumobi, sadly noted that the negative perception of migration which is usually criminalized, migrants viewed as job searchers, perpetrators of crimes, drug pushers, crooks and in some instances labelled as terrorists.
"There is need to change this perception, that such stereotypes deny positive agency to migration, which has fueled human civilization and development," he said.