EU Migration is a major political issue, both in the EU and in Africa. Where the public and political debate often focuses exclusively on the downsides of migration, there is a need for policy makers in both continents to identify challenges as well as opportunities, notably in connection to employment strategies and realities in Africa and in the EU. The partnership operates on two levels. The first is dialogue.
Topics for discussions include:
- diasporas, remittances, brain drain, migrant rights, social consequences of migration
- regular migration, including circular migration, mobility and visa issues
- irregular migration, trafficking in human beings, smuggling of migrants, readmission, return
- refugees, asylum and protection
- job creation, inclusive growth, decent work, social protection, informal and social economy
- mobility of students and scholars, higher education harmonisation process (such as the Nyerere programme, and Erasmus Mundus)
The second level of the partnership deals with concrete initiatives and actions. Here stakeholders can jointly identify priority actions.
Who will benefit from the partnership and how?
This partnership ultimately aims to bring benefits to all migrants in Africa and the EU. It covers inter- and intra-continental migration and all types of migrants (economic, refugees, permanent, temporary, workers, students, scholars, etc).
Most of the benefits will arrive indirectly. The process of political dialogue aims to improve migration-related policies, in the EU and in Africa. Both sides aim to radically reduce human trafficking, to better ensure migrant rights, to strengthen the protection for asylum seekers and refugees, to advance the mobility of students and scholars, etc. Furthermore, specific actions under this partnership will produce immediate and concrete benefits.
What has been achieved so far?
The partnership has created a forum for open exchanges in a sensitive and complex policy area. The immediate results are difficult to measure, but the tone and nature of the debate has positively evolved over recent years. Today participants speak to a large extent the same language, and they increasingly share the same analysis.
Concrete projects and actions have been developed in the area of migration, employment as well as higher education (in connection to both mobility and the need to address brain drain). They include:
- African Remittances Institute (see example below)
- Human Trafficking Initiative. Through this initiative the AU Commission, in partnership with the EU Commission, will assist RECs to develop, implement and monitor regional action plans to fight trafficking in human beings.
- Nyerere Programme. This five-year programme, to be launched in autumn 2010, will fund exchanges of initially 250 postgraduate students between participating African universities. It will promote links between ACP universities, to further the process of capacity building.
- Pan-African University. The Pan-African University will be launched in 2010 as a network of African universities. Five specialised regional hubs will be established.
Example: The African Remittances Institute
Remittances constitute the most important source of incoming foreign currency in many developing countries and are therefore a core source for growth and development. The African Remittances Institute aims to strengthen capacities of all actors (African governments, banks, remittance senders and recipients, etc) to better use remittances as development tools for poverty reduction. The total budget is €2.1 million of which up to 1.7 million will be contributed by the EC and the rest by the World Bank. Activities will include, among other things, technical assistance, training, studies and dissemination of data. The preparatory phase project (both technical and consultative) started in 2010 under the leadership of the AU, in close association with the World Bank and the European Commission, and involving also the African Development Bank and the International Organization for Migration.
Example: The ACP Observatory on Migration
The ACP Observatory on Migration is a new body that will provide reliable data and information on migration flows in ACP countries. The Commission and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries launched this initiative in October 2010 with the objective to design better policies to enhance the migration contribution to development. The Observatory will introduce an innovative approach to enhance research capacities in ACP countries and provide policy makers with the tools to improve their actions. Research will focus on key topics such as, labour migration, migration and health, remittances, brain drain/gain, forced migration and climate change. The Observatory will foster networking and cooperation between research institutions, private researchers and government agencies. The total budget for the project is around € 9.4 million. The European Union contributes with around €8 million financed from the 9th European Development Fund.
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