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I’m very happy to welcome everybody to our annual conference migration policy Center annual conference we’re delighted you can join us obviously there’s many people around the table who are people we work with colleagues who are involved in projects with us some people here are maybe it’s her first time here at EUI or collaborating with MPC so we’re very happy that you’ve been able to join us our annual conference is a two-day event and this year we are focusing on the theme of migration between Africa and Europe and we are particularly keen as the migration policy center one of our objectives one of the things that we aim to do is to engage the researched in which we are involved at the migration policy center with the world of policy and practice so for others researchers to understand more about the the worlds of policy and practice and also for people from those worlds to understand and engage with us about the research we’re doing and through those connections we think we can strengthen the research we do and hopefully make contribution to these important debates about migration and the relations between Africa and Europe the conference program you all have it in front of you we’ve got a delighted with the people who’ve accepted the invitations to speak it’s we’re very grateful that people have been able to spare the time to share their views with us over these two days but the program itself will touch on a number of I think key and important themes thinking about that dynamics of migration and mobility in all of their diversity the politics and governance of migration we’re also going to look at patterns of mobility we’re going to think about development relationship to migration development we’re going to have perspectives from people from working on African migration and people looking from a perspective of Europe European governments and European institutions so hopefully what we have is the basis for a dialogue and an interchange will be effective for people to leave this event and hopefully have made connections through their own work with other people who share their interests and also hopefully we will have opportunity for debate so we’ve very deliberately arranged the room in a table rather than rows of chairs and it’s still a big room so it’s maybe it’s an aspiration we’ll see how it how it actually works out but we want to promote discussion and debate we have we’re delighted with the speakers we have but we’re also delighted that other people have been able to join us who aren’t speaking on the programme but of course are more than welcome to intervene in the discussions I’m without further ado I’m very happy to welcome Mr. Bramdeo and pass the floor to to you thank you very much Andrew and a very good morning to all of you colleagues let me at the outset state that very flattering introductory remarks about my rich experience is questionable but I shall accept that compliment in the spirit in which it was attended migration of course and the GCM is something that we all are quite familiar with and I think your own experience of the process the concept and the content of the GCM is probably giving us all a similar understanding of the work that lies ahead indeed I will share with you some ideas and some thoughts from the African perspective as we see the Global Compact as we see the process moving forward particularly in terms of knowledge production attitudes and the governance issues migration we all accept is intrinsic to the human experience anthropology tells us from the time man was or human societies were hunter-gatherers we have always had migration the need to migrate is related to satisfaction of basic needs it is for purposes of self-preservation purposes of survival and so it is a phenomenon that is going to be with us forever human societies have changed over the millennia but regardless of the type of

society that dominates our contemporary world migration will remain a constant companion of human civilization in recent years we are all aware migration has been elevated to the political sphere as a human phenomenon requiring greater attention by many States due to its role in the socio-economic development of any nation the global compact on safe orderly and regular migration adopted in December last year represents the first multilateral framework of cooperation on migration governance even though it’s a non-binding policy document many countries in Europe and elsewhere have rejected it on the grounds that it undermines their sovereignty in matters of migration management however for the majority of the UN member states that have signed the GCM it represents a historic global recognition of the potential of safe orderly and regular migration as a development tool and the importance of a people centered and human rights-based approach to managing migration this approach to migration is essential in preventing the dehumanization of migrants specifically on irregular migrants interestingly an article published in the American Political Science Review seeing the world through the other’s eye an online intervention reducing ethnic prejudice aimed at addressing anti-roma sentiment in Hungary and showed that participating in a perspective-taking game reduced participants prejudice against the Roma and even antipathy towards refugees as well as decreased intentions to vote for the Hungarian far-right party the question begs how would a change in the negative political rhetoric on migrants and refugees impact public sentiment and affect national policy if we look at the economic model of migration this also is quite important for us to understand and perhaps to research measuring the benefits of migration is done in scale in economic terms and contextualized to the needs of the sending and receiving countries circular migration is often cited as offering a win-win strategy for low-skilled migrants in destination countries it is temporary and therefore supposedly places less stress on the social systems of destination countries while offering migrants higher incomes to spend in the lower cost countries of origin circular migration appears to be a favoured option for European countries requiring low skilled or unskilled labour in the agricultural and service sector the Gulf countries too are well known for their circular migration policies which see their employment and residency of low-skilled workers in construction and domestic service managed through the Kafala system a system infamous for leaving migrants vulnerable to exploitation and abuse the benefits of circular migration is measured in economic terms but how beneficial is it to the individual migrants life experience in terms of psychological family and social welfare what is the impact of circular migration on the families of migrants is the migrants personal struggles to support a family a sacrifice of little consequence when measured against purchasing power the benefits of migration outweigh the benefit to the migrant who remains a commodity and a unit of production mainstream knowledge production on migration tends to focus on migration governance driven by economic benefits let us look at the role of media particularly in the negative migration narrative in Europe the growing nationalist sentiment fueled by the 2008 financial and economic crisis and

consequential lack of trust in liberalized policies has found an easy scapegoat in migrants politicians and biased media are often distort the facts on migration to divert attention from seething internal systemic economic failures and political crises the role of media in perpetuating a negative narrative of migration and migrants has been most demonstrable in the USA where popular media houses display political preferences rather than impartial reporting the question then arises as to how free is the media in our current age knowledge is power but information is for sale there is an abundance of information available but sorting it understanding it and accessing it remains challenging information is easily manipulated distorted and prepackaged for an increasingly consumerist public seeking validation of their own fears and prejudices the conflation of terrorism and Islam migration and criminality has led to anti-immigration policies that spur public antagonism against migrants the Trump administration for example banning immigrants from certain Muslim countries is a conspicuous case in point the growing alienation isolation and failure to integrate the Muslim community in France is another in 2015 at the height of what has come to be termed as the migration crisis in Europe anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment rose as people from the Middle East and Africa undertook perilous journeys across the Mediterranean into Europe the reaction of Europe was to tighten border security and immigration policies externalization of borders became a favored strategy leading to bilateral agreements of development aid in return for action against migrant smuggling in Africa Agadez in Asia was identified as a key area for anti-smuggling intervention and curbing the flow of West African migrants into Europe via Libya and Algeria in addition the EU financial support to the Libyan Coast Guard and militias enabled it to intercept migrants and asylum seekers at sea and subject them to arbitrary detention in Libya EU supports to improve conditions at the detention centers have been criticized for having negligible impact while all these interventions were justified as means of addressing smuggling and preventing deaths in the Mediterranean it has in fact raised the questions about the EU s complicity in human rights abuses of migrants who were detained in Libya there is a need for all of us to address the negative narrative sometimes promoted by the mainstream media which has impact on the way migrants especially from Africa are treated in the destination countries further there is need for us to address the negative media narrative that sometimes promotes prejudices that may lead to migrants being discriminated upon the media just like policy think tanks and academia should be the doyen of responsible reporting that will aim at promoting the human face of migration which fortunately is what the GCM is all about we often hear of the need to address the root causes of migration as a means of dealing with it so many migration studies have focused on these so-called root causes we’ve come up with conflict political instability and environmental degradation climate change poverty unemployment economic opportunities as common root causes for migration this has also influenced the

public discourse on migration as a failure of countries of origin and a burden for developed countries to bare however there’s a need to delve deeper into the root causes of these push factors themselves by strengthening research and studies that offer critiques of globalization and the impact of post colonialism in spurring migration towards former colonial powers such as the UK and France in addition how has the scramble for control over resources and markets especially in Africa contributed to perpetuating inequality exclusion and subjugation of the right to development particularly in Africa the root causes of migration cannot be addressed without holistic understanding of these often missing factors in migration studies a shift in migration and border studies from a focus purely on governance to a more critical perspective on capitalism the nation-state and geopolitical interests in relation to migration and border regimes is needed in addition questions around rising white supremacist movements nationalism racism Afrophobia Islamophobia amongst others are essential in addressing inequality and exclusion in increasingly multicultural societies let us talk about demographic changes because this is also a key element the demographic imbalances across the continents is expected to heighten even further as Europe and other developed nations such as Japan age in contrast to the increasingly youthful populations of the developing world by 2050 Africa’s population is expected to double to about 2.4 billion migration flows to Europe and other developed countries will therefore rise with ageing nations looking to the youthful populations of Africa to meet the labor market needs now I focus only on Africa but of course there are other parts of the the world from which you could as well have youthful populations moving to Europe managing migration as a development tool is the underlying principle driving the GCM well-managed migration through increased legal pathways has the potential to yield significant benefits for both Europe and Africa however current policies around border security speak more to controlling migration as a solution to migration in particular irregular migration if developed countries are going to negotiate bilateral agreements with favored countries based on selectivity around how many of whom they want irregular migration will continue for example is Europe more hostile to certain migrants and refugees from certain regions than to others is it that we as Africans are unable to negotiate bilateral agreements that not only provide access to wider labor markets but also preserve the human rights of our migrants as they journey to other parts of the world is it racism and afro phobia which is a factor in determining entrance into Europe what is the experience of middle-class and educated Africans in the Diaspora as compared to unskilled or low-skilled African migrants does class and education levels of migrants influence perceptions of them are middle class migrants more protected from negativity due to the nature of the middle-class lifestyle less reliant on public services more private space and more resources to engage in the social and cultural life of their adopted

country our poor migrants more vulnerable to xenophobia racism and anti-migrant sentiment due to the harsher social environment in which they live their greater reliance on support networks of fellow migrants and thus lack of integration and perceived otherness lastly there is a need for Europe to have a paradigm shift on how they view African migrants according to a recent study finding by IOM eighty percent of Africans thinking about migration have no interest in leaving the African continent and they have no intention of moving permanently they move in search of opportunity and sometimes safety the movement brings advantages to the families and communities and therefore to the nations as such there’s a realization within the African Union with the need to promote intra African human human mobility and movement of goods and services for socio-economic development of the continent to realize this the African Union has developed both policy and legal instruments to guide their member states in opening borders and markets for the people to trade and interact the continental free trade area protocol that and that of the free movement of persons together with the implementation of the revised migration policy framework for Africa is a clear indication of the continents zeal to tap into the benefits of migrations we are also working to revise the Ouagadougou Action plan against human trafficking and to develop new policy documents on the prevention in trafficking of persons and smuggling of migration of migrants in the continent to guide member states in addressing challenges of irregular migration this would be complemented by the ongoing efforts to establish migration data centers in mali an observatory in morocco and an operational center in Khartoum this will not only build a capacity of member states to address irregular migration but also support them to tap into the benefits of migration through the provision of verifiable data that will inform their migration policy development and operational strategies the chair I apologize for being long-winded but I thought that I should share some of these thoughts with this August gathering and perhaps most of what I’ve said is already known it was part of the point I needed to make thank you

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