The African Migration Observatory, inaugurated on Friday, December 18, 2020, in Rabat, has an important strategic dimension, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates M. Nasser Bourita.
The Observatory will provide Africa with specific data able to help make decisions, establish migration strategies and give a clear vision on African migration while dispelling the myths surrounding this issue, indicated Mr. Bourita.
The Minister was speaking during a press briefing with the Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission, Mrs Amira El Fadil after the inauguration ceremony of the Observatory.
Bourita also noted that the Observatory will allow Africa to be in a position of strength as an interlocutor with other partners who often put Africa on the defensive in relation to migration issues.
The issue of migration “remains in many cases a simple perception, because it suffices to disseminate certain images in the media and social networks to create stereotypes and clichés on the issue”, he noted, saying that the Observatory aims to deal with migration in Africa in a calm and rational manner, particularly in terms of its volume, its causes and its developmental aspect.
“Africa was waiting for all this data to reach it from other parties, such as the United Nations and the European Union. However, the defense of this issue was placed in the hands of other parties,” said Bourita, noting that immigration is now an international issue where each party rushes to present it in a way that serves its own interests and a certain perception since migration has become an electoral recipe in several countries around the world.
In this regard, the Observatory will act as a lever within the framework of a network made up of research centers and experts, in order to create a dynamic of scientific and social research on the issue of migration, he declared, calling on Africa to get rid of any inferiority complex, to face its problems and to defend them with pride and confidence.
It is wrong to place all the weight of migration on transit countries, since migration is a responsibility that falls on both countries of origin and destination, he stressed, adding that countries of transit cannot play the role of a policeman, because this is unacceptable and does not correspond to the principles and the philosophy of Morocco nor to the vision of His Majesty the King on the issue of migration.
Morocco assumes its responsibilities in matters of migration, within the limits of its capacities and responsibilities, and will always be a responsible interlocutor and partner, he said, adding that responsibility also requires frank talk.
“If we do not face the networks of illegal immigration and human trafficking in a coordinated manner within the framework of shared responsibility, we will not achieve a solution”, noted the minister, insisting on the need to understand the phenomenon of migration in all its ramifications, starting from its economic and social causes to the suffering of immigrants in an illegal situation due to racism. In the absence of this approach, dealing with the issue will not be explicit and therefore Morocco will address European countries, in general, with frankness and responsibility.
Mr. Bourita also indicated that the inauguration of the observatory in Rabat is an important event in many respects, considering that it is the first institution under the African Union that Morocco has hosted since its return to the Union in 2017.
It also reflects the full commitment of the Kingdom of Morocco in accordance with the vision of HM King Mohammed VI for a common African action, he said.
The inauguration of the Observatory has a strong symbolic message, which falls within the framework of the philosophy that guided the return of the Kingdom to the AU, which is represented by the mobilisation of Morocco alongside African countries and the African Union Commission to give impetus to issues of importance to Africa, including migration.
As soon as Morocco returned to the AU and African leaders chose His Majesty the King as Leader on the issue of migration, the Sovereign affirmed that Morocco will engage in African issues, stressing in this regard the African Agenda for Migration, adopted in 2018, which includes a set of data and proposals, the most important of which is the creation of the Observatory and the appointment of a Special Envoy for Migration in order to promote better management of migration on the Continent, in addition to the role played by the Observatory as a mechanism for collecting data to this regard.
For her part, Mrs El Fadil indicated that the inauguration of this Observatory mainly aims to offer an opportunity for the exchange of successful experiences between African countries, noting that Morocco has a successful experience that it can, through the Observatory, share with the rest of African countries.
Noting that migration in itself is a positive issue, excluding illegal migration, which is only a small part of migration in general, Mrs El Fadil clarified that internal migration represents 80% against 20% for external migration.
Thus, the role of the Observatory is to provide scientific evidence through research and studies and to propose solutions to the problem of migration, namely the reintegration of returning immigrants in their countries by offering them opportunities of employment and training.
The role of the Observatory will not be limited to studies and research, but will also include the establishment of an interconnected system of relations to propose radical solutions, underlined the Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission, calling for the opening of legal migration channels through specific agreements with European partners.
Chaired by Mr. Bourita and Mrs El Fadil, the inauguration ceremony of the Observatory took place in the presence in particular of the Minister Delegate in charge of Moroccans living abroad, Mrs Nezha El Ouafi, of the Ambassador-Director General of the Moroccan International Cooperation Agency (AMCI), Mr. Mohamed Methqal, and a number of ambassadors accredited to Rabat.
On this occasion, Mr. Bourita and Mrs El Fadil signed a headquarters agreement for the African Migration Observatory between the Kingdom of Morocco and the African Union Commission.