By Ajibola Abayomi,

Keyamo

The Minster of State for Labour and Employment, Chief Festus Keyamo, SAN has called for more respects for labour migrants as economic developers and urged African leaders to embrace well-managed migration to address the needs of the people.

He made the call while delivering a keynote address during the official launch of decent work and leadership forum in Sierra Leone on Tuesday.

The event chaired by Alpha Timbo, Minister of Labour and Social Security has participation from several countries. A book titled Deadly Work or Decent Work authored by the Principal Consultant to the Sierra Leonean government on labour matters was unveiled by the former President of Malawi, Dr Joyce Banda.

The minister submitted that it was significant to note that the role of migration as an enabler of job creation and decent work as a tool for inclusive economic development cannot be overemphasized. 

“This is because, the link between migration, decent work and sustainable development is widely acknowledged, as migration is the world’s oldest poverty reduction strategy.

“Thus, the skills of migrant workers are a valuable resource for both sending and receiving countries, helping to ensure the functioning of their labour markets through the matching of labour supply with demand.

“As you are aware, the world of work is changing and much of migration in the world today happens for the purpose of work. Thus, migration is now part of an increasingly dynamic and globalized world.

Today, there are an estimated 258 million international migrants across the globe and 150 million of these are migrant workers. Labour markets are increasingly global and more and more jobseekers are looking beyond national borders for employment and livelihood opportunities. As the International Labour Organization (ILO) has noted “Migration today is for work” he said.

Below is the full speech of the minister.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE HONOUNRABLE MINISTER OF STATE, FEDERAL MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT, CHIEF FESTUS KEYAMO (SAN) DELIVERED AT THE LAUCHING OF THE AFRICAN LEADERSHIP FORUM ON MIGRATION AND PRESENTATION OF DECENT WORK PUBLICATION HELD AT BROOKFIELD HOTEL, FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE ON 28TH MAY, 2021.

PROTOCOLS:

      On behalf of my family and the entire staff and management of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, I am most delighted to be here today on this auspicious occasion of the launching of the African Leadership Forum on Migration, Decent Work and the presentation of the Book titled “Deadly or Decent Work” authored by HE Dr. Princess Asie Kabukie Ocansey, a multiple international award-winning Labour Migration Expert and renowned member of the African Union Labour Migration Advisory Committee.

2.   I want to thank all of you for honouring the invitation extended to you by the organizers of this event, an indication of your commitment to our shared goal and vision of promoting better management of migration and decent work for economic and national development in Africa. You will agree with me that Migration and Decent Work are two sides of the same coin. This is because decent work is a driver of development and the search for decent work is a key driver of labour migration in Africa.

3.   Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is significant to note that the role of migration as an enabler of job creation and decent work as a tool for inclusive economic development cannot be overemphasized.  This is because, the link between migration, decent work and sustainable development is widely acknowledged, as migration is the world’s oldest poverty reduction strategy; an indispensable engine for human development; a driver of economic growth, a source of job creation and dynamic innovative cultures.  Thus, the skills of migrant workers are a valuable resource for both sending and receiving countries, helping to ensure the functioning of their labour markets through the matching of labour supply with demand.

4.   As you are aware, the world of work is changing and much of migration in the world today happens for the purpose of work. Thus, migration is now part of an increasingly dynamic and globalized world. Today, there are an estimated 258 million international migrants across the globe and 150 million of these are migrant workers. Labour markets are increasingly global and more and more jobseekers are looking beyond national borders for employment and livelihood opportunities. As the International Labour Organization (ILO) has noted “Migration today is for work”.

5.    You will also agree with me that most countries of the world have taken a step further to find mutually beneficial ways through which Migration could continue to provide people employment, greater human security, and not place them at risk of trafficking, exploitation and abuse. This is significant because, migration is emerging as one of the most critical, social and economic issues of this decade. Migration schemes that focus on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their welfare, while addressing labour market needs will become increasingly important to achieving equitable, sustainable and inclusive development in Africa. Equally, the potential of migration to act as a vehicle for job creation and a development enabler is contingent on the migration process itself being safe, humane and orderly.

6.  It is against this background that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes for the first time, the contribution of migration to sustainable development as migration has increasingly being recognized as a positive force for  socio-economic development in view of the fact that, migrants transfer knowledge and skills to origin and destination countries, channel investments and remittances, and foster economic linkages and business opportunities between sending and receiving countries and regions.

7.      At this juncture, I would like to emphasize the need for a well-managed migration scheme in Africa to ensure the protection of human, social, economic and labour rights of would- be migrants in accordance with international Conventions on Labour Migration in order to mitigate the adverse effect of migration on the Continent, thereby making migration a win-win situation for all.   In addition, African Countries should continue to promote social dialogue and consultation that would foster innovative measures to facilitate mobility and ensuring rights-based and protection-centred migration management in the continent. Equally, Governments through coordination and partnership, should continue to work with Social Partners, the private sector, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and international development partners to promote better migration management in Africa.

8.    Ladies and Gentlemen, let me use this opportunity to thank the organizers of this event for honouring me with the AFRICAN DECENT WORK CRUSADER AWARD and it is my pleasure once again to be part of this important meeting, I wish you all a productive deliberation as I look forward to working closely with all of you to achieve our shared goal of promoting decent work, safe, fair and regular migration for development.

9.   Thank you all for your attention and God bless you.

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