The Head of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ghana, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, has advocated proper regulation of labour mobility within Africa to help solve skilled labour shortage and unemployment on the continent.
Labour mobility is the geographical and occupational movement of workers from one country to another.
“Most African countries face labour and skills shortages in specific sectors while at the same time battling with unemployment. Regional skills pooling enabled through well managed labour mobility can help to address this challenge and incentivise workers to move where they are most productive and needed,” she said.
Speaking at an international professional labour mobility forum in Accra on Thursday, Ms Lopez-Ekra said contrary to popular perception, most of the African migrants moved within the continent and this presented an opportunity to harness the potential benefit of labour mobility for the continent’s development.
The forum organised by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) on the theme, ‘Promoting international professional labour mobility for decent jobs: the role of the Ghana public employment services’, was to discuss employment migration and its attendant issues.
Ms Lopez-Ekra said a key aspect of harnessing the potential of the youthful population of the continent was to ensure they were productive and had access to employment, at home and abroad.
“It is imperative to facilitate safe and regular means for youth the who are seeking to work abroad especially in a context where youth employment continues to create strong push factors for migration,” she said.
In doing so, she said adequate protection was crucial for migrant workers as they were contributing to the development of their country of origin through remittances, stating that in 2018, Ghana alone received $3.8billion in formal remittances.
Ms Lopez-Ekra said IOM was helping Ghana to adopt a national labour migration policy because it was convinced that “there is incredible potential in labour mobility for the development of Ghana”.
She therefore charged the country and the rest to implement the Global Compact for safe and orderly migration signed last December to among other things help achieve sustainable development goal 8 on labour rights and decent job.
The Head of Labour Department of the MELR, Eugene Narh Korletey, in his welcome address shared in the view that labour mobility had potential benefits but said there was the need for concerted efforts to curb illegal migration.
Prof Mariama Awumbila of the Centre of Migration Studies at the University of Ghana said it was normal for migration to increase in development but it could inure to a country’s development depending on how it was managed.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR