In September 2018, MIEUX convened 20 partners for the Regional Knowledge Sharing Round-table in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, the third in a series of events after Bangkok in March and Mexico City in July 2018. The event was co-hosted by the Kenyan Department for Immigration Services and gathered representatives from Central African Republic, COMESA, the Democratic Republic of Congo, GIZ, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, and Rwanda.
Conceived as part the commemorative events to mark 10 years of MIEUX interventions, these events are a chance for beneficiaries to exchange common experiences and good practices stemming from MIEUX Actions. Each event has a thematic focus which corresponds with the main themes of the MIEUX Actions in the region. In this case, the 20+ delegates from Central, Eastern and Southern African countries beneficiaries of MIEUX Actions were gathered in Nairobi to reflect on the achievements, good practices and results accomplished by MIEUX Actions focused on data collection, diaspora engagement, and migration policy development since 2009.
What were the results?
A joint discussion on regional trends shed light on the apparent trust in diaspora engagement policies in driving development and economic growth; the central role of migration data and the lack of professionalised systems for its collection, management and storage; the shifting flows of labour migration from Europe towards the Middle East against a backdrop of increasing efforts by States to create and/or implement region-wide free protocol movements to encourage intra-regional mobility; the awareness that many pieces of legislation and public policies are in need of an update or a complete overhaul, starting with formulating comprehensive national migration policies to give an overall vision in line with national development plans and matched with National Coordination Mechanisms, bodies, or agencies.
The delegates were also asked to provide an overview of the short-term priorities at institutional, national, and regional level, among which data management, diaspora engagement, inter-institutional coordination and information sharing stood out as main areas for further development.
Examples of good practices and results
All participants rated MIEUX interventions highly and consistently rated knowledge exchange with EU experts and non-EU experts as one of the best features of the programme. Moreover, participants cited the sharing of practices as extremely beneficial to achieving “a change in mindset”, crucial in achieving commitment from the political level of government to implement recommendations and new solutions. See below for a few examples of what participants reported on, and follow the links for more information on each individual Action:
In Kenya, the National Migration Coordination Mechanism pulls together all agencies working on migration so that all stakeholders can gain insights and act according to an agreed coordinated strategy or course of action. Thanks to the ongoing MIEUX Action on data collection, there is improved data sharing between Ministries, thereby reducing administrative and production costs. As a result, Kenyan authorities are now developing Standard Operating Procedures for data collection and sharing among migration stakeholders and will include a migration data questionnaire in the upcoming 2019 census.
At a regional level, COMESA had requested support to review to data collection methods and information sharing systems in COMESA Member States. Thanks to the MIEUX Action, the organisation was able to coordinate with several stakeholders and initiate collaboration with several ministries in other African countries on the topic of data collection and management. In general, COMESA referred to the group how they grew in awareness and understanding of the importance of data for sound policy development and effective migration management. To follow up on these results, COMESA is mobilising resources to develop its current database and information-sharing system.
In Malawi, the MIEUX Action that supported the formulation of the Malawi Diaspora Engagement Policy and Action Plan was instrumental in bringing together all key stakeholders involved in migration. As a result, the Action was successful in raising awareness about migration and its effects. The Diaspora Affairs Unit is now coordinated in its approach towards diaspora engagement and migration and development and has been able to incorporate Lessons Learned into strategic planning, work plans, and consultative forums.
In Mauritius, the MIEUX Action that supported the drafting of the current National Migration and Development Policy was cited as an “eye-opener” because it helped to identify opportunities linked to migration. Knowledge transfer has “empowered” the Administration, strengthening the role of the National Migration Steering Committee set up in 2015, creating more harmony between government ministries and enabling a better understanding of migration issues and of its impact on socio-economic development.
What is next?
The final Regional Round-table will take place in early October in Cotonou, Benin, and will focus on migration policy development and capacity building. The results of all Round-tables will provide the foundations for an updated and comprehensive publication collecting MIEUX’s good practices that will be published in early 2019
Find out more about other Regional Round-tables