By Michael Oche
The first-ever African Labour Migration Conference (ALMC) has ended, with tripartite partners identifying key gaps that require urgent actions in the implementation of continental, regional, and national policy frameworks on labour migration.
Key areas identified for actions by the Conference covered important issues around Bilateral Labour Agreements (BLAs), fair and ethical recruitment, gender dimension of labour migration, social protection for migrant workers, skills development and recognition as well as strengthening of intra-regional and inter-regional dialogue and cooperation.
This was contained in a 40-point recommendation reached at the end of the Conference, which held in Abidjan from October 18 to 20.
Our Correspondent reports that the commitment by the tripartite partners to implement the 40-point recommendations
offers hope for better Labour migration governance for the continent.
The tripartite partners represented by African Union Commission (AUC), ITUC-Africa and International Organization of Employers (IOE) with support from ILO at the conclusion of the ALMC, lunched a Call for Action, which emphasized the urgency
to develop common solutions to the common challenges facing African migrant workers.
For instance, on the recommendation to strengthen Intra-Regional and Inter-Regional Dialogue and Cooperation, it was agreed that the AUC, RECs and ILO to launch a campaign for the ratification of the AU Free Movement Protocol in collaboration with Social Partners, ILO and Partners working on the subject.
It was also resolved that the AUC and RECs are to form and launch a continental Member States Experts Taskforce towards the speedy ratification and domestication of the AU Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, consisting of three high level subject experts drawn from Ministries of Labour, Interior (Immigration) and Finance from each of the RECs and seconded to the AU office in charge of Ratification
“AUC and RECs with the support of ILO to create a platform for African countries of origin at the highest level / ministerial level to meet every two years and deliberate to forge common solutions and positions to common problems related to labour migration,” it noted
On promoting Fair Recruitment, the Conference resolved that the AUC is to fast-track finalization of the AU Fair and Ethical Recruitment Strategy and mobilize resources for implementation of the Fair Recruitment Initiative in Africa, including organization of a donor roundtable to mobilise resources.
“AUC to support RECs and Member States to build capacities of private employment agencies to comply with the ILO General principles and Operational guidelines for fair recruitment and relevant International Labour Standards.
“AUC, RECs, Social Partners, ILO, and other partners to launch a regional campaign to advocate for the elimination of recruitment fees to migrant workers,” the communiqué noted.
On Bilateral Labour Agreements, Member States were urged to make use of the AU Guidelines on Developing Bilateral Labour Agreements (BLAs) and regional level guidelines such as the IGAD Regional Guidelines on Rights Based Bilateral Labour Agreements in drafting, negotiating, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating bilateral labour agreements.
It was meanwhile resolved that the AUC, RECs, and social partners to spearhead the development of common positions and minimum denominators on the content of BLAs and avoid “race to the bottom”.
The conference noted further that “the AUC, with the support of the ILO and the social partners, must help member states formulate migration policies with a view to establishing predictable and transparent legal frameworks to facilitate skills mobility.”