The large-scale project, “FMM West Africa”, funded by the European Union, has successfully been launched in Abuja on the 16th of April. The project aims to support free movement of persons and migration in West Africa. Implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), and the International Labour Organization (ILO), and driven by the ECOWAS Commission, this project is truly one in which will influence an efficient migration policy, including labour migration in the region.
With the West African region holding the record for the strongest flows of intra-regional migration in Africa, with numbers of migrants reaching almost nine million, equating for 70% of those who migrate within the region, it is no surprise that this project has been warmly received and encouraged. The objective is to design better policies and facilitate their implementation to enhance the contribution of migration to development. FMM West Africa will be able to achieve this on the regional, national as well as local levels. The project is planned to cover all 15 ECOWAS member states and Mauritania and to support migration at all three levels.
On the regional level, FMM West Africa will support ECOWAS in its role as a regional platform for migration policy development and build capacities in data management, border management, labour migration and counter-trafficking. As well as strengthen the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA), which an existing platform that encourage the ECOWAS Member States to discuss common migration issues and concerns in a regional context, for which immediate solutions may not be forthcoming on a national level.
The project will also provide support on the national level by assisting ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania in the development of migration profiles and the adoption of national policies. Finally, this notable project aims to inform citizens of their mobility rights and obligations, fund actions of civil society and local authorities to promote and implement regional & national policies at the local level.
The main areas of work on labour migration in the framework of the project (support the ECOWAS High Level tripartite social dialogue, harmonization of Member states labour laws, Labour and skills mobility and public information, counter-trafficking prevention and prosecution activities, Data collection and management, capacity building of ECOWAS Staff and of ECOWAS Member States, Harmonisation of qualification recognition policies and Protection of migrant workers’ rights and social security coverage) are in line with ILO priorities on labour migration issues.
The project is a big opportunity to strengthen the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in West Africa by supporting the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement of Persons’ Protocols and the ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration.