Members of the High-Level Panel on Migration in Africa (HLPM) met in Addis Ababa on 19 November to review a report that aims to buttress ongoing migration and human mobility policy agenda in Africa.
The report was commissioned by African heads of state and government and drafted by the HLPM technical team.
It focuses on the status of migration in Africa and its implications for Africa’s development; mitigants and enablers of African migration; human rights of African migrants and the rule of law; and perceptions of African migration versus realities. The report also makes concrete recommendations for consideration by African countries.
At the opening of the two-day meeting, former Liberian president and Chair of the HLPM, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, congratulated her team for making “significant progress” over the past one year of the Panel’s existence, adding “we now have a report that has come a long way in terms of its content and quality. We are here to review and decide if it meets expectations as per our terms of reference.”
The report, which will be presented to the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in February 2019, approaches migration as an important enabler and beneficiary of regional integration and economic development in Africa with specific reference to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and Protocol on Free Movement of Persons.
ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, urged the team to deliberate on how to get more countries to sign the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol that will enhance intra-Africa movement of persons, stating “My sense is that the free movement of persons is one of those landmark decisions that need to come to fruition in Africa.”
As the Panel finalizes its report as mandated by African Heads of State and Government, the team is also deliberating on strategies for advocacy and engagement with stakeholders around issues of migration.
Against this backdrop, African Union Commission’s representative at the meeting, Sabelo Mbokazi, highlighted the need to “develop and strengthen partnerships and existing frameworks on migration in Africa.” He said there was need to reflect and advocate for “transformative actions” in favour of Africa’s returning migrants.”
The HLPM was established in 2017 and tasked to profile migration issues and push them to the top of policy agenda by engaging major stakeholders and partners at national, regional and global levels.