The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has established a High-Level Panel to help forge political consensus to address the challenges of migration and save lives on the African continent.
Abdalla Hamdok, the Acting Executive Secretary of the ECA, at the launch of the High Level Panel on Migration in Africa, said the impacts of violent conflicts on the development of the continent were massive.
The head of the UN development arm in the continent regretted that border control measures and stringent policies also prevented Africa from realizing the benefits of migration.
Hamdok said the process followed growing concern for the safety of migrants, as they undertook extreme risks in hopes for a better future or to escape violence and persecution.
“Travel in Africa by Africans is curtailed by stringent visa requirements, excessive border controls and immigration restrictions.
“Data shows that less than three per cent of Africa’s populations have migrated internationally and less than 12 per cent of the total migrant populations in Europe are from Africa,” he added.
Hamdok noted that the unfortunate situation not only increased costs, but multiplied the risks that migrants were forced to undertake.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who chairs the High-Level Panel, said that the issue of safe migration for the continent was on top of Africa’s agenda.
Johnson-Sirleaf noted that every year, thousands of migrants perished while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach mainland Europe.
“Just last week, some 40 young men and women died of thirst in the Sahara Desert, while trying to reach Europe,” she said.
Maureen Achieng from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), also shared this view.
“Migration from Africa towards other regions is taking place in a much lower level than one might think,” she said.
The 14-member High-Level Panel was established in April last year by ECA to push migration issues to the top of policy agenda by engaging major stakeholders and partners.
“Over the next few months, it will hold consultations at the national, regional and global levels.
“It will also propose recommendations on building and sustaining broad political consensus on the implementation of the international migration development agenda.
“Similarly, it will take into account the particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations,” the statement said.