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ECOWAS receives African union Labour migration advisory committee
Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne (2nd from left), giving welcome remarks; to her right, Dr. Mohammed Kyari, to Commissioner’s immediate left; Mrs. Taibatou

Abuja, 22nd October 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) received representatives of the African Union (AU) Labour Migration Advisory Committee (LMAC) on 21st October 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria under the auspices of the AU-ILO-IOM-ECA Joint Programme on Labour Migration Governance for Development and Integration in Africa, better known as the JLMP.

The purpose of the three-day visit is to introduce the Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP) and the mandate of LMAC to relevant stakeholders for enhanced ownership and the successful implementation of the JLMP and LMAC mandate.

In addition, the mission will share experiences on existing programmes and projects on labour migration in ECOWAS as well as advocate for the adoption of relevant international, continental and regional conventions and frameworks for improved labour migration governance in ECOWAS and its Member States.

Welcoming the delegation, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Dr.Siga Fatima Jagne stated that ‘West African labour migration is a regional matter as ECOWAS has the highest mobility in the African continent’. She noted that labour migration is critical for regional integration, hence there is need for evidence-based data on labour migration which will be the basis for development priorities.

A group picture of participants

Commissioner Jagne also outlined ECOWAS’ efforts in providing a framework for improved labour migration governance by highlighting ECOWAS’ Convention on Social Security which enables portability of social security benefits among Member States. She added that ECOWAS has adopted a rights-based approach, to ensure the protection of rights of migrant workers and their families.

Also speaking during the meeting on behalf of the AU Commissioner of Social Affairs, Dr Mohammed Kyari noted that as a tripartite organization, LMAC is crucial in galvanizing the required support from stakeholders including policy makers, legislators, media, civil society, and other development partners. ‘Developing and adopting policies is one thing, and implementation is another’, he said.

On behalf of International Labour Organization, Mr. Dino Corell commended AUC for its leadership of the JLMP and stated that the project is a tool to change the migration narrative in Africa and the direction of migration governance in Africa. He highlighted ILO’s contributions in the project spanning capacity building and technical support to workers and employers organizations, advocacy for the adoption of relevant international labour conventions, and research on skills portability in the leather sector.

Representing the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Nigeria Chief of Mission, Ms Taibatou Sidibe commended the AU and Regional Economic communities for their impressive collaboration in the implementation of the JLMP and the JLMP Priority project funded by Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). She noted that the LMAC missions, which are supported by the JLMP Priority project, will contribute to improving the LMAC role and advisory service on labour migration management and governance to the AU and RECs’ decision makers.

In his remarks on behalf of LMAC, Mr Stephen Obiro stated that the visit will enable them learn best practices from ECOWAS. He noted the project is crucial considering that well managed migration can be a tool for addressing the changes in labour dynamics due to the global demographic changes.

ECOWAS is the current chair of the LMAC and is among the three priority Regional Economic Communities implementing the JLMP Priority project which aims at responding to identified challenges in many countries such as labour and skills shortages, improving migration governance, unemployment and a growing youth bulge.

The JLMP Priority project’s ultimate objective is to improve labour migration governance in order to achieve safe, orderly and regular migration in Africa, as committed in relevant frameworks of the AU and RECs, international labour conventions and other processes.

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