GHANA HOSTS CONFERENCE ON MIGRATION AND MOBILITY

A Conference which aims to explore the relationships between migration, mobility and development, with a focus on South-South movements and the African region is underway in Accra.

 

The two-day conference, which is being jointly organized by the  United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and  the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), brings together new and innovative research from economics and other disciplines that can inform broader policy-relevant debate and action. 

 

The conference will explore diverse perspectives and themes including issues of migration, domestic policy and governance; forced migration and international policy; the impact of migration on social cohesion; remittances and families left behind; and the macroeconomic impacts and trade.

 

The others are labour migration; rural-urban movements; relationships between migration, environment and natural resources; the impact of displacement on host communities; gender; health and education; and the determinants and root causes of migration.

 

Speaking at the opening ceremony in Accra, yesterday, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, urged policy-makers and governments across the globe to make conscious efforts at taking the appropriate policy decisions to address the challenges of migration and mobility.

 

Dr Bawumia, underscored the importance of research into national and global issues which, he said, provided direction to policy formulation. He, therefore, pledged government’s commitment to developing policies that would best regulate migration, adding that government looked forward to receiving relevant ideas and concepts that would feed into policy on migration and for national development.

 

Ghana, he indicated, had, however, formulated a migration policy in 2016 which provided a framework for the management of migration for sustainable development.

 

Delivering the key note address, Prof. Ingrid Palmary, Professor and Academic Director, African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits University, South Africa, discussed how global influences shaped the development of South Africa’s anti-trafficking legislation (Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act No. 26715, 2013).

 

Prof. Palmary noted that migration policy-making had taken place amidst complex and unequal global relationships, adding that the idea that policy-making took place only at a national level needed some unpacking.

 

Welcoming participants, Prof. Finn Tarp, Director, UNU-WIDER, noted that migration, mobility and development were inextricably intertwined.

 

This, Prof. Tarp said, therefore, required research to enhance understanding to inform policy. He also noted that even though the volume of South-South migration was higher than South-North migration, that fact was often overlooked. 

 

This conference, he said, would, therefore, focus on South-South migration and the Africa region, while also drawing on other country and regional experiences. 

 

In his remarks, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary-General of ARUA, underscored the importance of research to deepening understanding of migration which would feed into policy.

 

In other words, Prof. Aryeetey said, for the appropriate policies on migration to be made, there was the need to measure its impact through documentation and statistics.

 

This, he said, therefore, required enhanced collaboration between research institutions and policy makers.

 

UNU-WIDER is a global think tank providing independent and interdisciplinary research, analysis and policy advice on global issues with the aim of promoting sustainable and equitable development while ARUA is a network of universities from different countries and different historical backgrounds that seek to expand and enhance significantly the quality of research done in Africa by African researchers.

 

ARUA’s mandate is to support local research excellence to find solutions to Africa’s development problems, while supporting local research capacity was UNU-WIDER’s priority for structural transformation on the continent.

 

The UNU-WIDER development conferences, which have become major international and popular events for researchers and decision-makers, began in 2001. The conferences continue to be integral of the Institute’s work programme.

 

The theme for this year’s conference is Migration and mobility—new frontiers for research and policy.

 

The theme hinges on the fact that migration and mobility are key facets of an increasingly globalized world, posing challenges but also offering opportunities. For migrants, this may include economic and social mobility, as well as improved physical security and an escape from conflict, violence and persecution. While the impact of migration on both host and sending countries is a topic of considerable contemporary political debate, there is also ample research showing the benefits in terms of labour market outcomes, economic growth, as well as diversity and innovation.

 

According to Prof. Tarp, issues of migration and mobility have been extremely contentious in recent years while the refugee crisis, sparked not least by the Syrian war, has shown that policies governing international migration are in a tangle.

 

Prof. Tarp, notes that many issues are often bundled together in the public debate, and that it can be difficult to disentangle the various elements in the mix. This, he says, is not helpful, neither from a policy nor from a research perspective.

 

There is, therefore, the need to uncovering some of the key facts on internal and international migrations — both voluntary and forced — to help understand the issues currently at hand— what are the new frontiers in research on migration – in economics and beyond? And how can this inform policy?  “This is what we consider in this conference, Prof. Tarp, emphasizes.

 

Source: ISD (G.D, Zaney)