East and Horn of African countries discuss advantages of migration data harmonization

Kampala – From 27-29 August 2019 the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and IOM convened a meeting of senior representatives from institutions working on migration and national bureaus of statistics (NBSs) from the seven IGAD countries, and Tanzania, to begin a process of migration data harmonization in East and Horn of Africa.

During the workshop, the seven IGAD member states, which are, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda, agreed to form an IGAD regional working group on migration data. The group will support peer exchanges, capacity building, and develop a set of guidelines to harmonize and standardize migration indicators and statistics to achieve comparability. In addition, to the IGAD member states, The United Republic of Tanzania is also going to reap benefits from this initiative.

In addition to focal points for the relevant national coordination mechanisms (NCMs) and statisticians from the region, delegates from ECOWAS and the Nigerian government, as well as experts from IOM, UNECA and the University of Bristol also attended the meeting.

“It is essential that we can access reliable, timely data on migration in East Africa to ensure economic, social and political inclusion of migrant groups; to ensure that our economies can capitalize on the free movement of skills across the region; and to address migrant groups’ critical needs,” said Ali Abdi, Chief of Mission of IOM Uganda, in reaffirming the timeliness of the meeting.

An IGAD official on his part emphasized the importance of migration data in bringing to life their Regional Migration Policy Framework and its accompanying Action Plan.

The three-day discussion then shared international, continental, and regional perspectives on migration data harmonization and how these experiences can be used to guide the process now underway in East Africa. Insights and best practices from initiatives in other regions such as West Africa were also shared.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began a similar process in 2015 and experts from West Africa explained the approach they use to produce comparable, meaningful statistics that shed light on push-and-pull factors, as well as general trends on migration in their region.

The African Union Commission (AUC) outlined the AU roadmap on migration policy and governance, recent initiatives on the continent, and the importance of having regional processes for producing comparable statistics, for example as it relates to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in the Horn of Africa region.

Nougbodohoue Samson Bel-Aube, Head of Statistics Division for AUC described the workshop as, “a great platform for national experts from some Eastern African countries to exchange/learn best practices for setting up national frameworks for data collection, analysis and dissemination, as well as for planning, monitoring and evaluating the AU Migration Policy Framework for Africa and Plan of Action (2018 – 2030), the AU/IOM/ILO/ECA Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP), and the IGAD Regional Migration Policy Framework”.

Officials presented the current state of migration data production and challenges faced in their respective countries. They also highlighted the need for continued peer exchange to support benchmarking, as well as the technical and financial support required to carry out national data mapping initiatives, and to establish technical working groups on migration data.

At the same event, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin, in collaboration with the IOM Regional Data Hub (Nairobi), launched a regional migration data overview for Eastern Africa on the Migration Data Portal to enhance analysis and comparability of migration data in the region to better inform policy development.

Frank Laczko, Director of GMDAC, highlighted the need for migration data in the global context stating that, “better data on migration in East Africa can help to enhance the benefits of migration for development”.

The workshop was hosted by the Government of Uganda and IOM Uganda, and supported by the US State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For more information please contact:
Phumza Manqindi at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 115571550 ext. 1423, Email: pmanqindi@iom.int
Eric Mazango at the IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 115571550 ext. 1456, Email: emazango@iom.int