The meeting was convened with the understanding that different RECs are atdifferent levels of progress in labour migration governance, hence the need to facilitateexperience sharing and capacity building.
Speaking during the event, the AUC Joint Programme on Labour Migration Governance forDevelopment and Integration in Africa (JLMP) Coordinator, Mr Oumar Diop noted that RegionalEconomic Communities as the building blocks of the African Union have a pivotal role to playincluding on facilitating management of labour migration, through developing and implementingrelevant legal and policy frameworks, providing guidance and capacity building to their MemberStates.
The need to formalize, consolidate and promote closer cooperation among the RECs andthe African Union including on harmonization of policies, measures and programmes has beenarticulated in the Draft Revised Protocol between AUC and RECs.
The IOM JLMP Programme Coordinator, Mr Edwin Righa said that ‘labour migration has becomevery important for development and integration of the African continent as highlighted in some ofthe flagship programmes and policy frameworks like the Migration Policy Framework for Africa(MPFA), the African Union Free Movement Protocol and the Global Compact for Migration’.
He highlighted that political will to facilitate trade in the continent must be matched with facilitation ofthe Rights of Movement, Residence and Establishment as articulated in AU and RECs Protocolsand frameworks.
It was clearly noted that the AU Free Movement Protocol was the bedrock of facilitating labourmigration in the continent, hence all hands should be on deck to facilitate ratifications among AUMember States.
The labour migration provisions of the Protocol were highlighted. TheProgramme Officer for Free Movement, Dr. Oluwafemi Solomon informed participants aboutsome initiatives involving ECOWAS and EAC to facilitate the ratification of the Protocol at theirrespective Member States, capitalizing on free movement regimes already in place in bothregions.
Representatives from the East African Community (EAC), The Common Market for Eastern andSouthern Africa (COMESA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sharedtheir experiences on tracking implementation of commitments at the regional and continentallevels; strengthening partnerships on labour migration and capacity and institutional reforms forlabour migration management respectively.
A follow up meeting will be organized to enable other RECs share their experiences as well. It isenvisaged that the Forum will evolve into a continuous learning platform among RECs andcapacity building on labour migration, building on and complementing the ongoing work of the
Labour Migration Advisory Committee (LMAC).
Also, RECs will be expected to identifyopportunities for joint undertakings on labour migration issues of common interest.The virtual workshop was organized under the auspices of the AUC-ILO-IOM-ECA Joint LabourMigration Programme for Africa (JLMP).