West African authorities and experts have agreed to harmonise their efforts in the fight against illegal migration by youths.
While addressing the local media, the head of Cote d’Ivoire’s Diaspora Directorate Issiaka Konate said Sunday at a regional meeting that there is an urgent need to come up with a framework to fight the phenomenon within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“It is a major challenge for the sub-region and we must overcome it,” he said.
With regards to Cote d’Ivoire, Konate said awareness campaigns had been launched recently, especially in Daloa town in the central western region “which has become a major transit hub for illegal migrations to Europe”.
“We want to involve Cote d’Ivoire’s diaspora in the fight against the phenomenon,” he promised.
Cote d’Ivoire authorities recently dismantled a network of human traffickers who were encouraging youths from Daloa to make the “suicide trip”.
The secretary general of West African Observatory on Migrations Aby Samir noted that most youths were exposing themselves to serious dangers by trying to migrate illegally.
“In Togo, the phenomenon is common and a number of youths have attempted to migrate illegally,” Samir said.
He announced that a regional conference will be organised soon to discuss the deeper causes of illegal migration among youths in ECOWAS region.
According to Cote d’Ivoire’s Diaspora Directorate, currently there are 1.24 million Cote d’Ivoire citizens living outside the country.
Between January and May 2016, 3,156 people from Cote d’Ivoire arrived in Italy through maritime means.
According to associations fighting against illegal migration, at least 20,000 people have died in the last 20 years while trying to enter Europe through the Mediterranean sea.