NAIROBI, March 30 (Xinhua) -- African countries should enact policy and legislative instruments that facilitate seamless cross-border movement of the skilled labor force in order to realize economic growth, stability and cohesion, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) officials said Thursday.
Mohammed Abdiker, the director of the IOM's Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, said the continent should leverage organized labor mobility in its quest for integration and shared prosperity.
"We need to ensure labor migration across the continent's borders is safe and orderly in order to unleash economic prosperity," Abdiker said at a regional media forum convened by the IOM in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.
Abdiker said removing barriers to the seamless intra-African movement of skilled labor should inform future efforts to realize the fruits of the ongoing efforts to integrate the continent and tackle poverty and a host of social ills.
While suggesting that countries should hasten the implementation of regional protocols on promoting orderly labor mobility to help tackle the growing threat of smuggling and human trafficking, he urged African governments to foster bilateral discussions on promoting a safe, legal and seamless cross-border movement of skilled labor as part of efforts to boost foreign exchange earnings in terms of diaspora remittances.
Abdiker added that other incentives like abolishing visa requirements, and rolling out medical insurance and pension schemes will spur intra-African migration of skilled labor force.
He observed that enacting friendly immigration laws will also help African states tap into the economic and social benefits of the free movement of skilled labor across borders.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement recognizes seamless cross-border labor mobility as key to the realization of full integration, economic prosperity, peace and long-term stability.
Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, senior regional specialist for Labor Mobility and Social Inclusion at the IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, said that facilitating free movement of the continent's skilled youthful workforce should be at the heart of efforts to foster equitable growth.
According to Hadjiemmanuel, African nations should also prioritize sharing of best practices on enhancing orderly labor mobility besides spotlighting opportunities that skilled workforce can tap into across borders.
She added that legal protection for Africa's migrant workers is key to ensuring their rights are not violated. ■