President Akufo-Addo
President Akufo-Addo

Tailor migration to growth, prosperity

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for a thorough assessment of the root factors, benefits and challenges of migration in order to leverage it as a source of growth and shared prosperity in every part of the world. 


Opening the third Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum in Accra yesterday, he said the combined effect of demographic trends in different parts of the world suggested that migration would become increasingly necessary over the next decades for countries at all income levels.

Notwithstanding that, the President said concerns that a high influx of foreigners may upset a delicate ethnic balance and weaken the national identity or incite political upheaval increasingly inspired the imposition of constraints on migration in high income countries.

That, he said, made migration a highly emotional and sensitive subject that was sometimes used to incite fear and outrage, hence the need to carefully think through policies to provide a win-win situation for the country of origin and the destination.

“The ability to leverage migration as a source of growth and shared prosperity in every part of the world demands scrupulously neutral assessment of both the proximate and root factors as well as the benefits and challenges that accompany migration movement,” President Akufo-Addo stressed. 


The two-day Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum (KAPS Forum) is being held on the theme: "Migration and Societal Resilience in a Multipolar World Order: Addressing Conflicts and Building Peace in Africa.”

It brought together over 200 delegates from Africa and Europe, along with leading experts in migration, security and development.

Former President of Benin, Boni Yayi; former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegn Boshe; former Vice-President of The Gambia, Fatoumata C. M. Jallow Tambajang; former Vice-President of Liberia, Chief Dr Jewel Howard-Taylor, and the African Union High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, among others were some of the dignitaries that graced the occasion.

Key among topics to be discussed include the role of African leaders and coping mechanisms in migration, climate change and conflicts in Africa, building regional capacity to mitigate migration and conflicts in Africa, addressing irregular migration and transactional organised crime in a multipolar world, gender, youth and migration issues, among other critical topics. 


President Akufo-Addo explained that migration had enormous benefits such as remittances, knowledge and skills transfer, among others.

However, he said, without reducing the multiple costs of migration such as brain drain and mass exodus of critical personnel, including health professionals to rich countries, the phenomenon would become a major problem affecting integration. 

The President added that the recent decision by the authorities in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to withdraw from the ECOWAS, coupled with the political turmoil in Senegal, were developments which were deflecting the attention of the community from a deeper and more meaningful regional integration.

Together with other members of the regional bloc, President Akufo-Addo said they were seeking ways to find amicable solutions to the challenge of ECOWAS’ integration.

“The region is at the crossroads and our actions will determine the trajectory that will set the path of prosperity or destruction for our citizens,” he said. 

ECOWAS security concerns

In his welcome address, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, Major General Richard Addo-Gyane, said the theme for the forum was selected due to the interrelated impact of migration, climate change and demographic pressures on human security, which were increasingly becoming salient on the global security agenda.

He indicated that West Africa had the highest rate of internal and external migration in Africa due to porous borders, leading to insecurity in many countries on the continent.

These concerns, Major General Addo-Gyane said, offered an opportune time at the forum to discuss issues confronting Africa, including the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Goods and People, which had been fraught with multiple challenges such as poor border security management, inadequate understanding of the provisions of the protocol and incoherence among immigration procedures within the region. 


Dr Ibn Chambas, who chaired the opening session of KAPS Forum, called for stronger cooperation among African countries, especially countries within the ECOWAS sub-region, as they gear up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the body to address the issue of migration.

The AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns also urged countries and policymakers of countries to take decisions that respected the human rights of migrants to fully harness the benefits of migration for the development of migrants and societies. 

Policy, commitment

The Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ghana, Kyrre Holm, said there was the need for a better system through strong international cooperation, bilateral cooperation and multilateral cooperation to maximise responsibility sharing among states on migration issues and refugees across the world.

He said in May last year, 110 million people were forced to be displaced either internally or across borders.

Moreover, over four million people had been displaced in the Sahel, including nearly two million in Burkina Faso, among others.

Mr Holm lamented that the current management of the global migration was not delivering the needed results as it was rather financed by illegal economies and destabilised transit countries.

He reinforced the Norwegian government's commitment to the cause of supporting various countries to address the issues of migration.

For her part, the Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Ghana, Sivine Jansen, said the deteriorating security situation in ECOWAS should not be taken for granted and called for joint responses and cross-border cooperation to deal with the threats and insurgency in the region.

She stated that migration was one of the driving factors of conflict in the world, but should not be pinned as the sole cause.

However, Ms Jensen said the lack of good management and safe pathways were partly to blame and therefore called for improvement in the framework of migration and the conditions surrounding them.

Doing so, she explained, would facilitate orderly and safe migration to harness the development potential of migration and create safer pathways for it.

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