The Minister of Labour and Social security, Alpha Osman Timbo, has revealed that contrary to media discussions which tend to create the impression that there is mass migration from West Africa to the global North, a large number of migrants movement is done intra-regionally.
He made this revelation while chairing a two-day virtual summit on African migration organized by the Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM), held on Thursday, 25th and Friday, 26th February, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The summit was held on the theme: Labour Migraton: Shifting the Paradigm to Benefit Africa; with an objective to set Africa on the path of prosperity from irregular migration.
In his statement, the minister stated that migration at regional level has historically been an integral part of life in many African countries, but with the coming of the Ebola epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of migrants had increased tremendously.
"Between 2010 and 2015, an estimated 31 million international migrants originating from Africa with about 77% of them moving intra-regionally," the minister stated.
He said that available data on African migration suggests that about 85% of migration movements in West Africa are directed towards another country in the region. "This is about seven times greater than migration flows from West African countries to other parts of the world", the minister added.
With the exception of Cape Verde which mostly hosts migrants from Sao Tome' and Principe, Mr.Timbo further revealed that the migrants in many West African countries are largely from other West African countries, and majority of them go to the informal sector.
The Labour Minister noted that in view of the fact that intra-mobility of labour can go a long way to promote development, the African Union and the Economic Community Of West African States have designed a number of policies and programmes to govern migration, adding that the Joint Labour Migration Programme which focused on supporting effective implementation of intra regional migration policies was being implemented with support from the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.