SADC puts labour migration under spotlight

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Harare (New Ziana)- Southern African countries will converge in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe next week to discuss the governance of labour migration as an instrument for development in the region.
The high-level tripartite two-day dialogue titled: “Labour Migration Governance in the SADC region,” will run from November 29 to 30.

President Emmerson Mnagwanga will officially open the conference, which seeks to find ways to foster fair and effective labour migration governance and protection of migrant workers in Southern Africa.

“Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the High-Level Tripartite Dialogue is a culmination of activities and research organised by the Southern African Migration Management (SAMM) Project to identify priorities at the national level and advance in the implementation of country-level labour migration policies and action plans in the SADC region.

“It is designed to improve migration management in the Southern African and Indian Ocean region guided by, and contributing to the realisation of, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda goal 8 on decent work and economic growth and goal 10 on reducing inequality and Objective 6 of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) to Facilitate fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work,” read part of a statement released ahead of the event.

“Since almost half of all migrant workers in the SADC region are women, the conference will spotlight the importance of labour migration policies to be gender-responsive and evidence-based. For many women, as for men, migration can represent a positive experience and have important emancipating and empowering impacts.”

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 47 per cent of all migrants are female.
But, often female migrants are confronted with gender specific disadvantages and vulnerability in the migration process and in their employment.

“Women workers, especially young female migrants, often end up in situations of double or even triple discrimination, disadvantage, marginalization and vulnerability (including violence and harassment as well as forced labour.”

Commenting on the upcoming summit, ILO country office director for Zimbabwe Hopalong Phororo, said: “Maximizing the benefits of labour migration and minimizing the risks and social costs requires sound and effective labour migration governance.”

“Expert studies and data show that migration, particularly labour migration, is an important enabler and beneficiary of regional integration and economic development in Africa,” she said.

IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa Ashraf El Nour, said: “It is necessary to advocate for improved migration management in Southern Africa, as a pivotal approach to addressing the challenges of migration, and ensuring that migration has a positive outcome for the country, migrants, and the members of their families.”

The Southern African region has a long history of intra-regional migration.

All Member States of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are involved in labour migration flows as countries of origin, transit, or destination and often they play the three roles at the same time.

The two-day conference will also promote fair, ethical and effective labour migration governance through tripartism that brings Ministries of Labour/Employment, Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, as well as workers’ and employers’ organisations.

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