A three day Sub-Regional Tripartite Consultation for the formulation of skills partnership on migration in West Africa and the Sahel is on going in Abuja, Nigeria.
The meeting is to validate research findings and identify key opportunities to forge skills partnerships on migration in the regions of focus.
The Consultation which opened on Wednesday falls under the recently launched Global Skills Partnership on Migration Initiative involving the International Labour Organisation ILO, the International Organisation for Migration IOM, UNESCO, the International Employers Organisation IOE and the International Trade Union Confederation ITUC.
The aim of the Programme is to mobilize technical expertise towards supporting governments, employers, workers and their organizations, educational institutes and training providers and other stakeholders to develop and recognize the skills of migrant workers with a particular focus on women and youth.
According to the ILO Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Africa, Mrs Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, the target of the skill partnership is to contribute to successful as well as sustainable labour market outcome and integration in countries of origin and destination, and progressive career development and well-being of migrant workers.
It is also to encourage regulation, including in the framework of bilateral and multi-lateral labour arrangement, based on skills demand and relevant quality training provisions for potential and return migrant workers as well as improved productivity and retention of migrant workers leading to better economic outcomes and performance of enterprises.
“Indeed, our institutions are all joining forces to forge a global skills partnership to mobilize our constituencies, pool expertise, and build platforms to assist national and migrant workers including those who return to maximize synergies and leverage comparative advantage.
“The Global Partnership on Migration Initiative is paying particular attention to low-and medium-skilled migrants and will be underpinned by skills partnerships at national, sub-regional and continental levels,” Mrs Olonjuwon said.
Labour statistics in Africa she said, indicate that the informal employment has remained high at close to 86 percent while extreme working poverty is high at 32.5 percent and labour productivity low at only 1.1 percent.
Going forward, the Regional Director recommended trust between countries saying: “skills partnerships will clearly be about strengthening trust between countries.”
The Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, in an address, said that shares in the vision of ILO to bring Government, Social Partners and the other allies in the ECOWAS Sub-Region and the Sahel to explore imaginable ways collectively to promote Fair, Orderly and Regular Migration.
Represented by its General Secretary Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the Congress commended what it called the initiative and effort to support all Actors, especially critical stakeholders in the workplace to share knowledge and good practices on policies that promote better migration governance and management.
“This we believe will help the various stakeholders to better understand the migration space and enhance their capacities to position them to harness the great potentials and benefits of migration.
“Also, we appreciate this great move that placed emphasis on identifying concrete avenues for formulation of skills partnerships on migration with the involvement of the trade unions.
“The NLC, supports all efforts to strengthen the understanding of all stakeholders with bias to trade union Centres and their affiliates unions across the Sub-Region on free movement and migration and how they can actively contribute to better management of migration and link it to development and the actualisation of the decent work agenda,” Ugboaja said.
He said the NLC has resolved to be committed to any effort and all activities that will promote fair migration, stressing the importance of actively participating and collaborating, as well as strengthening the alliance relationship between workers and the “other” stakeholders in the workplace and society in general in ways to continue to enrich the call for fair migration.
“We have affirmed that fair migration and responsive governance are some of the ways to tame hazards of migration, poverty and inequality, given that fair migration is critical to a better society,” the Scribe said.
Director General Nigeria Employers Consultative Association NECA, Mr Timothy Olawole in a message, called for deliberate steps to bridge the gap between skills and available jobs in the ECOWAS and the Sahel adding that employers world over are always willing to invest in capacity building and technical skills acquisition for the general development of the society.
In an interview, the Director of ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Mr. Dennis Zulu, said that the three day consultation is excepted to come out with a clear road map on how the ECOWAS and the Sahel will drive towards achieving decent migration of their peoples.
There were good will messages from the EU, IOM,UNESCO, Norway, Nigeria and the ECOWAS.
The meeting being attended by Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo will end on Friday.