Skip to main content
JUBA - 21 Mar 2023

IOM, East and Horn of Africa govts recommit to labor mobility

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Labour ministers from 11 countries in East and Horn of Africa, IGAD, EAC, African Union Commission, other UN agencies, Technical Working Groups, and donors, have met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to discuss enhancing the protection of human rights of millions of migrant workers, and managing migration for development and economic growth, through human mobility, gender-sensitive migration governance, and regional integration.

Under the platform of the fourth   ‘Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration’ (RMFM)  on Harmonizing Labour Migration Policies in East and Horn of Africa: A United Approach on Safe, Regular and Humane Labour Migration, and under the theme “Labour Mobility, Migration Governance and Regional Integration in East and Horn of Africa”, Ministers from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, agreed to, to unite as a block to realize the potential of and address migration issues in the region.

In a signed joint statement, the ministers agreed to strengthen high-level ministerial meetings and Regional and National Technical Advisory Committees (TACs).

“Strengthen existing RMFM Technical Working Groups (TWGs) working on bilateral labour agreements, ethical recruitment, migrant workers’ rights, skills development, and job creation. Youth employment, return and reintegration of migrant workers, gender and diaspora, private sector engagement, and consular services,” the statement said. “Governments also promised to establish new Technical Working Group sub-groups to give gender, private sector engagement, and migrant workers’ health, mechanisms for the enforcement of ethical recruitment standards, and promised to continue training private recruitment agencies.”

 There are over 13.7 million migrant workers in Africa and 3.6 million migrant workers in the region, according to IOM’s Regional Data Hub. With East and Horn of Africa hosting 3 of the largest migration corridors in the region. 

 “The need for gatherings of key stakeholders in labor mobility, migration governance, and regional integration such as this can never be overstressed,” said the chairperson of the RMFM, Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Minister of Labor and Skills, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. “It is common knowledge that this area is facing new challenges which are particularly urgent to be addressed.”

The ministers also committed to establishing more robust negotiating positions in their engagement with countries of destination, in particular Gulf countries and the EU.

“We would like to thank the technical experts from the Ministries of Labour, Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Gender of the 11 Member States of the RMFM for their contributions, including their work this week on issues,” noted Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for East, and Horn of Africa. “These Technical Working Groups have been working tirelessly to showcase the progress made in the areas of interest and concern and we will share a few of the good practices and impactful results. The RMFM was set up to promote policy coherence and better development outcomes through migration.”

This is the 4th such Ministerial meeting to convene to discuss labor mobility and migration with leaders from across the region.