The first meeting of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) High Level Panel on International Migration in Africa (HLPM) highlighted regional migration priorities and actions that could be taken to implement these.

The meeting was held on Monday in the Liberian capital Monrovia as part of a two-day official visit by the African Development Bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, at the invitation of Liberia’s outgoing President, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, who is also chairperson of the HLPM.

The AU and the UN Economic Commission for Africa initiated the HLPM in 2016 in recognising the vital role of migration in Africa’s transformation agenda.

The HLPM will focus on and push critical migration issues to the top of the policy agenda by engaging major stakeholders and partners.

The organisation is composed of 15 eminent persons, including representatives of government, the private sector, academia and civil society.

The members were selected for their institutional relevance to resolve issues emerging from migration trends in Africa and were invited during the opening ceremony to give brief introductory remarks.

A number of key participants made some of the following comments:

  • “Liberia is the story of migration of people that have left and come back. It’s good to have this first meeting here in Monrovia.” – Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
  • “Migration needs partnerships and cooperation.” – Oumar Diop, representing Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission.
  • “Do not make the mistake that migration or immigration are bad. The issue is not migration itself but the quality of the strategies to make migration successful.” – Aignoje Aig-Imokhoude, Chairman of Coronation Capital Ltd., Nigeria.
  • “Migration is everyone’s business. All of us have to tackle it together.” – Danisa E. Baloyi from the Black Caucus Counsel, South Africa.
  • “Freedom of movement is key to unlocking the benefits of economic and social development.” – Knut Vollebaek, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
  • “More people are on the move now than ever before in recorded history.” – Kabla Amihere, Country Director for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Liberia, who represented the IOM Deputy Executive Director, Laura Thompson.
  • “We need effective mechanisms for migration. Our challenges are the implementation of policies.” – Cynthia Samuel-Olonjowon, International Labour Organisation Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Africa.

The final meeting will take place at the African Union Summit in in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the Panel is expected to present its main report.

- African News Agency (ANA)