A meeting on the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan by Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) member states has been held in Accra to deliberate on relevant issues on how to maximise the positives of migration to impact on development of countries among others.
The Valletta Action Plan is built around five priority areas, which are development benefits of migration and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement; legal migration and mobility; protection and asylum.
The others are prevention of and fight against irregular migration; migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings and return; readmission and reintegration. In 2015, records indicate that one million migrants arrived in Europe, with more than 2,000 of them losing their lives in the process and when the migrants were grouped West Africans featured in the top five countries of origin.
Representing the Director/Africa and Regional Integration Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mrs Sena Siaw-Boateng-Mr Eric Persah, Migration Policy and Advocacy Network stated that migration is a multifaceted global issue which has increasingly become a matter of international concern.
“The phenomenon has been a very longstanding and common one in Africa generally and in West Africa in particular, with approximately 19.3 million people on the move on the continent, according to World Bank estimates,” he added.
Per his stance, migration from Africa to Europe has been triggered by multiple factors such as conflict and civil strife, political instability and persecution, poor government, corruption, financial crises and others.
“Many of those that are compelled to migrate for these reasons have only the irregular route through the Savannah, Sahara and sea available to them,” he said.
According to him, he hoped the meeting would birth discussions on migration, regular or irregular route to safeguard the rights of migrants, especially vulnerable groups such as women, children and the aged, adding that it is vital that all stakeholders work as a team so that interests in the implementation of the Valleta Action Plan are respected.
Mr William Hanna, Head of European Union in Ghana, noted that the EU would support the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan through its ‘EU Emergency Trust Fund’ for stability and address the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in African.
He added that unemployment is one of the underpinning reasons why people move from one place to the other in hopes of securing an economic activity to support themselves.
Mr Hanna appealed to government to adequately address the issues of unemployment and other pertinent ones that compel people to go through dangerous routes and ordeal to relocate.
Ms Emmerentia Erasmus, Co-ordinator, International Centre for Policy Migration and Development (ICMPD), opined that with appropriate initiatives, migration can impact development positively.