The African Union Commission (AUC) has stated that the global economic shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has left thousands of African migrant workers vulnerable. This was stated after the AUC met on the Joint Labour Migration Governance for Development and Integration Programme (JLMP) in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

AUC said, ‘The economic shutdowns caused by the [Covid-19] pandemic and resulting public health measures have left thousands of migrant workers in African countries, and beyond, hard-hit and struggling to make ends meet’.

‘Even today, countries such as Djibouti, Sudan, South Africa, and Botswana find themselves in the difficult position of having to deport or repatriate stranded migrants back to their home countries, with those who choose to stay seeing access to the labour market shrinking rapidly’, it added.

The Commissioner for Social Affairs of AU, Amira Elfadil, commended the work of the joint initiative. She noted that the initiative has been one of the most successful projects the AUC has worked on, emphasising that it was a sustainable and growing project with many successes, even as it presents opportunities to improve the management of labour migration on the continent. Elfadil added that JLMP is improving the labour migration landscape across the continent and is a key project for the implementation of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Migration Policy Framework for Africa.

The IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the AU, UNECA and IGAD, Maureen Achieng, also added that despite the challenges they faced due to Covid-19, the JLMP still provides opportunities to improve the lives of migrant workers across Africa during and beyond this crisis.

The JLMP, which was launched in 2015, works with AU member states, regional economic commissions, social partner organisations, migrants and diaspora associations to address identified challenges to effective labour migration management in many countries such as labour and skills shortages, dearth of statistics, weak ratification and domestication of labour standards and free circulation frameworks, and addressing the challenge of jobless growth and widespread youth unemployment.

Source: News Ghana

Photo source: New Business Ethiopia

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