IOM, East Africa Governments Renew Labour Migration Pact


Labour Ministers representing governments from 11 countries in East and Horn of Africa have today committed to strengthen regional and national collaboration, coordination and advisory structures on labour mobility, gender-sensitive migration governance, and regional Integration for development and economic growth.

At the 4th Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration (RMFM) focused on labour mobility, migration governance and regional integration in East and Horn of Africa, Ministers from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda agreed to, to unite as a block to address migration issues in the region and establish a more robust negotiating position in their engagement with migrants' countries of destination, in particular Gulf countries and the European Union.

In a signed joint progress statement, the Ministers further agreed to strengthen high-level ministerial meetings and Regional and National Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) and existing RMFM Technical Working Groups (TWGs) working on bilateral labour agreements, ethical recruitment, migrant workers' rights, skills development and job creation. They also committed to adopting the recommendations of the TWGs on youth employment, return and reintegration of migrant workers, gender and diaspora, private sector engagement, and consular services.

The governments further committed to establish new structures to give gender, private sector engagement, and migrant workers' health, mechanisms for the enforcement of ethical recruitment standards, and promised to continue training private recruitment agencies.

Enhancing the protection of human rights of the 3.6 million migrant workers - in a region that hosts 2 of largest migration corridors in Africa, and managing migration for development and economic growth, through human mobility, gender-sensitive migration governance, and regional integration shaped the focus of the discussion.

Under the coordination of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the RMFM brought together the ministers alongside stakeholders including, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the East African Community, the African Union Commission, other UN agencies, Technical Working Groups, and donors.

"The need for gatherings of key stakeholders in labour mobility, migration governance and regional integration such as this can never be overstressed. It is common knowledge that this area is facing new challenges which are particularly urgent to be addressed". Said the Chairperson of the RMFM, Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Minister of Labor and Skills, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Ministers were also invited to join IOM's Global Policy Network (GPN), a government-led vehicle for policy dialogue and collaboration, and asked to work more closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the East African Community and the African Union, as guardians of the Free Movement Protocol (FMP), Common Market Protocol (CMP) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), respectively, which all seek to enhance labour mobility, migration governance and regional integration.

"We would like to thank the technical experts from the Ministries of Labour, Interior, Foreign Affairs and Gender of the 11 Member States of the RMFM for their contributions including their work this week on issues. These Technical Working Groups have been working tirelessly to showcase the progress made in the areas of interest and concern and we will share a few of the good practices and impactful results. The RMFM was set up to promote policy coherence and better development outcomes through migration". Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director, East & Horn of Africa.

The RMFM's work is guided by the relevant regional and global initiatives addressing migration, such as the Africa 2063 Agenda, AU Free Movement Protocol, the Revised Migration Policy Framework for Africa, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs 8.8 and 10.7), the Global Compact for Migration (Objectives 6 and 23) as well as the IOM's Migration Governance Framework.

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