Disturbed by the high rate of migration experienced in West Africa and the Sahel region, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has said that skills development for migrant workers will help to improve their productivity thus, contributing positively to the labour market.
Speaking at the Sub-Regional Tripartite Consultations for the Formulation of Skills Partnerships on Migration in West Africa and the Sahel in Abuja, the ILO Regional Director for Africa, Mrs Cynthia Samuel-Olajuwon, identified the need for countries affected by migration to collaborate to enable migrants benefit from new skills which will guarantee them decent jobs.
She noted that the Tripartite Consultations was aimed at sharing the knowledge and good practices on policy coherence between migration and skills policies, and assess the potential benefits from skill partnerships for fairer migration.
Furthermore, Samuel-Olajuwon who doubles as the ILO Assistant Director-General, said skills partnership will also help to protect the rights of migrant workers, especially women and young people.
“Countries of residence will benefit if more skills development happens in their countries, as domestic and international labour markets form ties with countries of destination, knowledge exchange, remittances and in particular when people return with new skills.
“Countries of destination benefit from migrant workers contribution to the skills pool in the country, and the skills shortages that are filled. “Employers benefit if they find the right talent for their operations, no matter where workers come from,’’ she said. While noting that at least, 6.7 million migrants have moved to destinations outside the region, she disclosed that informal employment rate has remained high at 86 per cent with 32.5 per cent working in extreme poverty.
She revealed that the ILO has inaugurated country studies and a sub-regional study in West Africa and the Sahel to assess migration trends, priority occupations how skills development and recognition could benefit migrant workers in both countries of origin and destination.
On his part, the NLC General Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ugboaja, said that organised labour shared in the vision of tripartite partnerships for labour migration for development, adding that the meeting would give the needed direction for fair migration. This, he said, was in tandem with the goal of the Africa Decent Work Agenda 2020-2030, pledging the commitment of the NLC to support efforts for free movement and migration for development.
“Fair migration is critical to development, we are reassuring you of our commitment to improve the lives of migrants and all Nigerians, NLC is purely driven by patriotic ideals and we stand in full solidarity.’’
Ugboaja added that the workshop would provide the needed support to the stakeholders to develop skills and strategies that would contribute immensely to their struggle for better management of migration and to overcome limitations in the management of migration.