Migration and human mobility policy agenda in Africa was the main focus of the High-Level Panel that met in Addis Ababa this week.
The panel on Migration in Africa (HLPM) also focused on the status of migration in Africa and its implications for Africa’s development; mitigants and enablers of African migration.
It also focused human rights of African migrants and the rule of law; and perceptions of African migration versus realities.
The report also makes concrete recommendations for consideration by African countries.
At the opening of the two-day meeting, former Liberian president and Chair of the HLPM, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, congratulated her team for making “significant progress” over the past one year of the Panel’s existence.
She added that, “we now have a report that has come a long way in terms of its content and quality. We are here to review and decide if it meets expectations as per our terms of reference”.
The report would be presented to the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in February 2019.
The report approaches migration as an important enabler and beneficiary of regional integration and economic development in Africa with specific reference to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and Protocol on Free Movement of Persons.
ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, urged the team to deliberate on how to get more countries to sign the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol that will enhance intra-Africa movement of persons.
“My sense is that the free movement of persons is one of those landmark decisions that need to come to fruition in Africa, ” Songwe said.
As the Panel finalizes its report as mandated by African Heads of State and Government, the team is also deliberating on strategies for advocacy and engagement with stakeholders around issues of migration.
Against this backdrop, African Union Commission’s representative at the meeting, Sabelo Mbokazi, highlighted the need to “develop and strengthen partnerships and existing frameworks on migration in Africa.” He said there was need to reflect and advocate for “transformative actions” in favour of Africa’s returning migrants.”
The HLPM was established in 2017 and tasked to profile migration issues and push them to the top of policy agenda by engaging major stakeholders and partners at national, regional and global levels.