Addis Ababa,20 May 2022 – The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Ms. Edlam Yemeru has told the first International Migration Review Forum yesterday that using high-quality data is critical to fostering inter-regional cooperation on the implementation of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration (GCM).
She was addressing two virtual side-events during the forum, focusing on ‘accelerating the Global Compact for Migration’s implementation at the regional and national levels’ and ‘cross-regional collaboration between Africa and Arab regions to accelerate the GCM implementation’.
Ms. Yemeru, acting Director of ECA’s Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division, said: “ECA continues working closely with member States and other relevant institutions to strengthen their national capacities on generation, analysis and dissemination of disaggregated migration data to support evidence-based policymaking and programming to fully integrate migration into development planning. In the long-term, we want to see migration statistics being integrated into national censuses and surveys.”
This priority intervention, she added, builds on the communiqué from the last year’s Africa Regional Review of the GCM implementation Conference hosted by the Government of Morocco in partnership with ECA, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Network on Migration and the African Union. At the conference, 470 delegates from across Africa underscored the need for data collection to better understand the profile and issues of migrants.
In her remarks, Ms. Yemeru further reiterated three key messages from the Africa Regional Review Conference. The first point underlines the need to reframe migration as a “development agenda now more than ever”. According to the latest figures, for instance, remittances to Africa amounted to $78.4 billion in 2020 – the figure is three times higher than the foreign aid received by the continent in that year.
The second point positions migration as a means of recovery and resilience of the continent from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other external shocks. The final message recognises that whilst Africa is going through a challenging time, it is also a time of great opportunity for the continent.
“A major such opportunity is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will transform the continent, significantly boosting the GDP growth, manufacturing capacity and employment creation,” said Ms. Edlam Yemeru. “In this context, migration and labour mobility become critical. The benefits of free trade envisaged in the AfCFTA are not attainable without the free movement of people.”
She continued: “It is, therefore, urgent to swiftly implement the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons to eliminate barriers to the movement of people within the continent and to enable African countries to reap the benefits of regular labour migration – because most Africans migrate within the continent, not outside.”
Ms. Yemeru mentioned that ECA remains determined to strengthening its collaboration with member States and regional entities to expedite the full activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area to ensure its maximise benefits for the continent and its resilience.
The International Migration Review Forum is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 17 to 20 May 2020. It serves as the primary intergovernmental global platform to discuss and share progress on the implementation of all aspects of the Global Compact for Migration.
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