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All set for Meeting in the Establishment of EAC Regional Consultative Process on Migration

Partner States Ministers in charge EAC Affairs; Interior Affairs; Labour and Directorates of Immigration from EAC Partner States, the EAC Secretariat, International Organization for Migration (IOM) as well as other UN agencies will be meeting in Kigali, Rwanda from 14th -16th February, 2022 to establish a Regional Consultative Process on Migration (RCP) in the region. 

The three-day meeting will provide a framework for the EAC Partner States to have an informal, discrete and non-binding dialogue on migration and governance issues in the region for the first time. 

The objective of the RCP is to help Partner States to move away from a securitized approach to migration to broaden understanding of migration by appreciating that migrants and increased mobility in East Africa can contribute to national development, reducing poverty and lowering the unemployment rate among the youth, and other benefits. 

The region has an estimated population of 195 million including nearly 5 million international migrants, over 2.8 million refugees and asylum seekers, and nearly 2.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region, with all countries being nations of origin, destination and transit for migrants, the displaced and other groups on the move.  

With an increase in the flow of labour migrants from the region to destinations like the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), increased climate change-induced migration, forced displacement and migration, conflict-driven migration and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobility, an RCP on migration for the region is timely. 

The formation of the first RCP dialogue process can respond to migration challenges in the region and maximize the development opportunities migration can bring.

The EAC region would not be the first regional economic community in Africa to enhance its approach to migration governance through an RCP. The Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA), the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA), the Migration Dialogue for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Region (IGAD-RCP), the Migration Dialogue from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Member States (MIDCOM) and others are operational.

It is hoped that the establishment of a REC for the EAC region will be in tandem with the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Global Compact for Migration.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the EAC Secretary General, Hon Dr Peter Mathuki, said that the proposed RCP would benefit EAC through the creation of effective networks for migration governance and establishing a policy framework for migration and governance.

“The RCP will present a significant opportunity to improve the governance on migration, to address challenges associated with contemporary migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development in the region,” said Dr. Mathuki.

On his part, Mr. Mohammed Abdiker, the IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa, said that the RCP was the result of the recognition by Partner States of the need to continuously dialogue and cooperate on migration issues at the national and regional levels.

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