Below is the full speech of Dr Ajibola Abayomi, the President of the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) at the Economic Development summit organized by 1st Fridays in Toronto on October 7, 2022.
TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR AJIBOLA ABAYOMI, THE PRESIDENT OF THE JOURNALISTS INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR MIGRATION (JIFORM) TITLED EXPLORING THE BENEFITS OF MIGRATION TO RETOOL THE GLOBAL ECONOMY AT THE 1ST FRIDAYS’ ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EDITION IN TORONTO, CANADA ON OCTOBER 7, 2022.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
It is an honour to be invited to speak at an Economic Development forum put together by 1st Fridays in Toronto, Canada.
Permit me to commend the organizers of this important event. Indeed our organization, the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) is proud to associate with the team as a partner.
The JIFORM is a global media movement founded in 2019 in Nigeria and presently comprising over 300 journalists covering migration matters across the continents. Having organized a series of conferences and capacity building programmes for journalists and other stakeholders, in Africa and other nations, we are in Canada this year to sustain the momentum to stage the 3Rd JIFORM Global Migration summit being hosted by the Abedorc Productions Inc while the special award session is billed for October 15 at the Afromedia studio in Toronto. You are all invited to be part of this historical movement by a group of determined journalists that are desirous of a positive paradigm shift in migration governance across the globe.
I pay tribute to Honorable Gerry Weiner, the former Secretary to the Government of Canada and also an erstwhile Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for all his encouragement and support for the JIFORM over the years. More importantly, I salute Canada, a great nation and her heart-warming people for the hospitality and the friendly migration policies over the years from which citizens of several countries are profiting from.
All of us, both the black and the white are now living with the reality of the famous quote of Martin Lutter King since August 1963:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The global economic development has transcended colour or race rather it is a show of intellect and initiatives. Therefore we all have a duty irrespective of our field to contribute our own quota to the world a better place for all.
For the JIFORM, the best way to reap the economic benefits of migration is when it is done through a regular channel that will ultimately lead to a prosperous end as against irregular migration that usually ends in sorrow.
Personally, I cherish the opportunity to work and exchange ideas with the President of 1st Fridays, Mr Warren Salmot Walmot in the few months I have known him through my great friend, the distinguished Professor Byron Price from the Medger Evers College, City University in the United States of America.
My presentation which centers on Exploring The Benefits Of Migration To Retool The Global Economy is a statement of reality that human mobility is the fulcrum of any economy because no nation can exist alone without relating with others. Migration is therefore a serious business from which many developed countries especially Canada, US, Britain and other developing nations have benefitted from.
In 2019, alone a total of USD 714 billion in international remittances were transferred globally by migrants and Diaspora back to origin countries as reported by the World Bank.
The current global estimate is that there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6 per cent of the global population. Overall, the estimated number of international migrants has increased over the past five decades. These people are economy developers such that if well managed remain a veritable asset any day.
To further underscore the import role of migration in the economy, officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are expected to increase by 4.2 percent this year (2021) to reach $630 billion. This follows an almost record recovery of 8.6 percent in 2021, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.
In 2021, remittance inflows saw strong gains in Latin America and the Caribbean (25.3 percent), Sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 percent), Europe and Central Asia (7.8 percent), the Middle East and North Africa (7.6 percent), and South Asia (6.9 percent). Remittances to East Asia and the Pacific fell by 3.3 percent; although excluding China, remittances grew 2.5 percent. Excluding China, it is an indisputable fact that remittance flows have been the largest source of external finance for LMICs since 2015.
The top five recipient countries for remittances in 2021 were India, Mexico (replacing China), China, the Philippines, and Egypt. Among economies where remittance inflows stand at very high shares of GDP are Lebanon (54 percent), Tonga (44 percent), Tajikistan (34 percent), Kyrgyz Republic (33 percent), and Samoa (32 percent).
Beyond migration and its relevant data, for prosperity to continue across the globe, nations must imbibe the culture of tolerance, empathy and open door policies to welcome migrants for development to be sustained.
All barriers furthering racism, discrimination and separatist tendencies must be discouraged. All of us are one people, one creation with potential to add value to global development.
Given the foregoing, I want to specifically call on world leaders to end the undue occupational war in Ukraine leading to millions of people now classified as victims of forced migration. In the midst of these the pronounced discrimination against the blacks to access same opportunity for survival like their fellow white counterparts is not acceptable as a just standard.
The United Nations must be firm and rise to the defense of the millions of Africans and citizens of the third world nation constantly being harassed in Europe, North and South Americans and elsewhere under the guise of labeling them as irregular migrants. The massacre of the defenseless migrants at the border of Morocco and Spain this year, as well as the continuous inhuman treatment of migrants around the Mediterranean Sea calls for serious investigation and concerns.
In our desire to continue to serve as a rally point for the media and migration stakeholders’ discussion, members of the JIFORM have elected to continue to have an annual migration conference in Canada. On this, I want to invite more corporate bodies and interested partners to work with us on this project aimed at enhancing capacity building for journalists and other migration stakeholders across the globe.
We are ready to network with other organizations to spread the campaign on regular migration and economic development. Indeed Canada has shown us love and we are ready to make this nation our permanent base to contribute to her growth in all ramifications.