Tamara Keating, Head of Unit of the Implementation and Management Services of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided an overview of trends and key challenges and opportunities in migration and development. She called for “managed migration” as the best way to ensure that migration works for development, while human rights of migrants are protected.
Three percent of the world population are migrants, which amounts to around 200 million people. This number has doubled since 1965. Contrary to the public perception, only nine percent of migrants from Africa settle in Europe. Instead, 47 percent of African migrants settle in another African country. “Would higher development aid prevent more migration? Or would it perhaps increase migration, giving more people the basic economic means to leave their home?”, Ms. Keating asked, underlining how complex the relation between migration and development can be.
With the increase of migrant remittances, also the attention to the link between migration and development rose. Some might say that migrant diasporas will not support development, because they were the ones who decided to leave their home country instead of developing it. Ms. Keating presented an example of how the knowledge and skills of migrants could be employed to serve the country of origin. The MIDA framework (Migration for Development in Africa) was founded by a Ghanaian migrant in Italy, who started selling pineapples from West Africa in Italy. Today, it is a capacity-building programme, which helps to mobilize competencies acquired by African nationals abroad. In Northern Kivu, for example, MIDA experts train professors and students of the University of Graben in farming and cultivation methods or land usage.
Looking into the future, Ms. Keating supposed that increased migratory flows and remittances will continue. Therefore, there is an urgent need for effective migration management, which carefully selects policies to limit negative effects of rural migration to urban areas. Managed migration is, according to Ms. Keating, the best way to ensure that migration supply meets demand, that human rights of migrants are upheld and protected, and that migration finally works for development.
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