Kampala. Several migration experts, academics, diplomats and different players recently gathered at Serena International Conference Centre in Kampala to discuss the migration governance in Africa and its implication for foreign policy.
The conference was organised by The Aga Khan Development Network in collaboration with The Uganda Council on Foreign Relations.
The event had keynote address delivered by Dr Mehari Taddele Maru, who spoke about the emergence of migration diplomacy and its impact on migration governance in Africa.
Dr Maru is the Lead migration expert for the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) and a member of technical Committee of Tana Forum. He has vast knowledge on migration issues on the continent.
The discussants included Dr Tadeo Kyaligonza, head Refugees and Migration Studies at the School of Arts and Social Science, Uganda Martyrs University and Mr Ali Abdi, the chief of Mission for International Organisation for Migration.
Speaking about the speaker series, Amin Mawji, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Diplomatic Representative in Uganda, explained that the “the aim of the AKDN Lecture Series is to create a space for conversation, a space that brings together people for an intelligent exploration of the social challenges we face today.”
He added: “The aim is to provide a platform for our most exciting public thinkers and a demonstration of the power of ideas to inspire and motivate social change.”
Several speakers challenged African governments to put in place policies on migration governance and reduce cases of criminalising migration.
They also said whereas Africa is opening its borders to migrants, it was unfair that Europe, which for generations was seen as a model, is closing its border.
“We have for a long time seen Europe as a model of democracy and copied many human rights issues from them. What can we get from China? Maybe roads and infrastructure, but when we talk of democracy and human rights, we look to Europe on whose principle African Union was modelled,” a participant said.
Another speaker said African countries must strike a balance between the refugees and host communities to ensure that not all focus is on refugees and the host communities are left with nothing.
The speaker said host communities and countries’ contribution towards support of the refugees must be quantified so that their efforts can be recognised instead of always praising the donor community yet the hosts play a big role.