Date of Publication: Dec 01, 2020

 Press Note

Regional strategy on migration launched by IOM, East and Horn of Africa

Nairobi – IOM, the UN Migration Agency has launched its Regional Strategy 2020-2024 for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, at a virtual gathering which included Minsters and other high-level government officials from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania, and leaders of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) including the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) the Deputy Secretary-General of the East Africa Community (EAC), and representatives from the EU, the United Nations, and other development partners.

The strategy is centred around the human rights of migrants and development priorities of IOM’s Member States. It outlines opportunities for migration and mobility in the region, such as the promise of peace and regional integration as well as challenges including conflict, protracted displacement crises, transnational organized crime, irregular migration, and epidemics, pandemics, other public health threats.

The strategy highlights that despite the challenges facing migrants and the displaced (with some 6.3 million internally displaced persons and 3.5 million refugees and asylum seekers in the region), well-managed migration and regional integration is an important catalyst for social and economic development.  

The strategy launch was opened by H.E. Parfait Onanga, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa  who praised IOM for identifying trends that could fundamentally impact the prevention efforts in the region and outlining programmatic responses that places IOM as an essential actor and partner in the prevention efforts of the Secretary General, which focuses on reducing violent conflict, disaster risk reduction, protecting human rights and building resilience to economic and financial shocks, all drivers for migration related displacement.

Representatives from IGAD and EAC in the opening session stated support for the strategy and its significance for addressing negative narratives about migration in Africa and focusing on and communicating the benefits of regional integration on migration issues.

“IGAD is committed to working with IOM on safe and orderly migration. Migration in Africa has suffered by from negative narratives and misinformation, which IOM and evidence is challenging,” noted H.E. Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary, IGAD.

“IOM’s strategy is in tandem with East Africa Community’s forthcoming sixth development strategy. The East African Community is ready to partner with IOM to realise the free movement of people in East and Horn of Africa as a catalyst for development,” said H.E. Christophe Bazivamo, the Deputy Secretary General of EAC said.

The Ministers and other high-level government representatives who attended stated their appreciation for the new strategy in helping national governments to harness the opportunities of well-managed migration as well as confronting issues such as trafficking, smuggling, and the exploitation of migrants.

This session was moderated by the Regional Directors of UNICEF and UNODC Mohammed Fall and Amado Philip de Andrés respectively, both of whom reconfirmed the strong partnership with IOM.

“This is an ambitious strategy and we hope to see its successful implementation. Djibouti remains a transit country for thousands of migrants from the region. Many of them are now stranded and unable to go back home due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic,” said H.E. Moumin Ahmed Cheick, Minister for Interior of the Republic of Djibouti.

“The government of South Sudan welcomes, and is hopeful about, the IOM strategy for the East and Horn of Africa region,” said H.E. Paul Mayom Akech, Minister of Interior of the Republic of South Sudan.

“The development of this strategy is timely and aligned with Somalia's National Development Plan. We recognise IOM as a key partner in realising Somalia’s development agenda,” noted H.E. Gamal Mohamed Hassan, Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

 “IOM is a dependable partner of the Government of Ethiopia in managing migration,” said H.E. Tsion Teklu, State Minister for Economy Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs of the Republic of Ethiopia.

“The Government of Burundi recognizes the efforts of IOM, as a key partner in preventing and responding to epidemic-potential diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic, at the point of entry and cross-border coordination. The Government of Burundi encourages IOM to continue supporting the Government,” said Isidore Ntirampeba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi.

“The government of Rwanda remain supportive of IOM. We thank them for their efforts to improve migration data in the region. Migrants in the diaspora play an important role in driving economic growth,” said Ambassador Guillaume Kavaruganda, Director General of Europe, Americas and International Organizations of the Republic of Rwanda.

 “Having the necessary mechanisms in place will reduce the abuse and exploitation of migrants. Kenya is working with IOM and governments in the region to improve migration governance,” said Patrick Ole Ntutu, Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Government of Kenya.

“We welcome this strategy and stand ready to partner with IOM in addressing irregular migration,” said Anna Makakala, Commissioner General of Immigration, United Republic of Tanzania.

Simon Mordue, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya recognized that IOM’s work on data collection is crucial in ensuring that we are tackling the correct problems. He went on to note that the strategy addresses the vulnerabilities of women and girls which remain most vulnerable to exploitation, violence and discrimination, a priority under the EU-Africa cooperation.

IOM intends to implement the strategy by working in close partnership with its Member States, the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, UN partners, civil society and development partners. It builds on IOM’s Strategic Vision 2019-2023 and  IOM Continental Strategy for Africa 2020–2024 underpinned by the the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration which calls on states to adopt a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level. The new strategy is anchored in protecting the human rights of migrants, while harnessing the benefits of migration as a catalyst for development.

“IOM is pleased to launch its Regional Strategy for East & Horn of Africa 2020-2024 today with our partners. Its implementation will facilitate migration that is safe, orderly and regular. It will contribute to mitigating adverse drivers of and promote durable solutions to displacement and irregular migration, promoting assistance and protection to those affected by crisis,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa.  

“It will further support regional integration and bolster inclusion and empowerment of migrants and diaspora, to contribute to sustainable economic and social development which will benefit everyone in the region,” added IOM’s Abdiker.


For more information contact: Yvonne Ndege, Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Tel:  +2547 977 35977, Email: yndege@iom.int