Together with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MIEUX+ is organising different activities to develop overall knowledge on migration of Cameroonian civil servants’ and to ensure an improved consular protection and assistance for the Congolese community abroad.
The Cameroonian and Congolese Ministries of Foreign Affairs submitted a request for technical assistance to MIEUX+ in collaboration with their diplomatic schools, which prompted the projects Cameroon II and Democratic Republic of Congo III to begin.
Both Actions have a strong focus on the development of training materials, and the countries have common issues tied to migration routes in Central Africa.
The state of play in Central Africa
Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are located in Central Africa, a region marked by dynamic migration patterns. Central Africa has a long history of intraregional and interregional migration flows, caused by conflicts and insecurity that exacerbate the situation.
Cameroon is a country of mixed migration flows. Incoming migrants are nationals of neighbouring countries who flee violence and seek refuge in Cameroon or Cameroonians who move from rural to urban areas in search of employment opportunities. Outgoing migrants from Cameroon move primarily to Europe mainly to France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Notwithstanding a decline in immigration numbers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in recent years, people on the move continue playing an important role in the social and economic conditions of the country. Refugees and asylum seekers also represent a considerable number, especially from Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
A main feature of emigration from the DRC is the increasing diversity of destination countries, resulting in a greater geographical dispersal for the Congolese diaspora.
Spotlight on Yaoundé
The partnership between MIEUX+, the Cameroonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) and the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC) aims to strengthen the general knowledge of Cameroonian current and future public officials on migration, by focusing on participants from both the institutions. This way, civil servants will be better equipped to protect migrants, refugees and forcibly displaced persons in the country and Cameroonians abroad in their consular posts.
In November 2022, the MIEUX+ team kicked off the project together with French and Cameroonian experts. In Yaoundé, they met representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cameroonian Institute for International Relations, as well as other relevant national and international partners and conducted a capacity and training needs assessment to determine the features of the training courses.
The next phase includes the provision of the first migration-related specialised training course for the IRIC students and the MINREX staff, as well as a ‘Training of Trainer’ course, to foster the knowledge on migration within both institutions.
Spotlight on Kinshasa
The Directorate of Congolese Abroad under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified the need for a more efficient policy framework to protect its citizens abroad. Notwithstanding the increased efforts deployed by the Government on diaspora engagement, consular affairs management is at early stages in the DRC.
Just as for our Action in Georgia, the MIEUX+ team will take stock of the results of the Migrants in Countries in Crisis - MICIC initiative, which aimed to prepare for and respond to citizens abroad in emergency situations, to draft the consular protection plan for the Directorate of Congolese Abroad.
A fact-finding mission was organised in Kinshasa in November, which included meetings and workshops with stakeholders from the Directorate of Congolese Abroad, the Diplomatic School, as well as other national actors. A MIEUX+ expert from France stated that «the development of the consular protection plan is a an exciting and challenging task. Being away from our home country makes you feel unsafe at times. Relying on a safe consular network will make Congolese feel empowered and protected ».
Following the consultations in Kinshasa, the team of experts has started the drafting of the consular protection plan and will continue a data collection exercise regarding the main challenges in consular protection based on the feedback from consular officers and Congolese diaspora organisations.