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Migration takes centre stage at the third edition of the Africa Resilience Forum, organized by the African Development Bank in Abidjan
Can migration really be described as a “crisis”? Is Europe threatened by an invasion of African migrants? What can migration bring to the countries of origin, transit and destination?
These, and many other questions, will be discussed by participants at the third edition of the Africa Resilience Forum, to be held 4-6March 2019 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on the theme of "Fragility, Migration and Resilience".
The Forum, organised by the African Development Bank, will open 4 March 2019 at the Babacar Ndiaye Auditorium at the African Development Bank headquarters with a high-level discussion on migration issues between the heads of government of several African countries, ministers for migration and the leaders of specialized agencies.
Together, policy makers, representatives of international organizations, researchers, prominent members of civil society and business people will consider issues around migration in the context of fragility and resilience.
In 2016, figures from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) showed that more than 65 million people had been forced to move away from their places of residence.
The 2019 Africa Resilience Forum will take an in-depth look at the challenges posed by migration, such as security, youth unemployment, gender issues and the effects of climate change.
Straight talking without taboos or prior conditions
A plenary specifically dedicated to "innovative solutions in the field of migration", including financial solutions, will be used to highlight how poverty and lack of employment prospects are becoming powerful drivers of migration and instability.
"Migration, Security and Development" will be at the heart of discussions at another plenary session, when participants will review the smuggling of migrants and the impact of tightened border controls with the goal of laying prevailing myths about migration to rest.
A unique platform for discussion and debate, the Forum, organized by the Bank’s Transition States Coordination Office (RDTS) with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), will also offer plenary and parallel sessions on the considerable opportunities that migration offers for the countries of origin, transit and destination.
"We want straight talking about migration, with no taboos or pre-conditions. We want participants to be able to freely discuss the challenges and opportunities migration brings. We are expecting the final result to represent the best initiatives to address fragility and strengthen resilience, through appropriate responses to migration challenges," said RTDS director Sibry Tapsoba.
Migration within the African continent will be discussed during a parallel session entitled "Intra-African migration: challenges and policies," while another parallel workshop will focus on "climate change, migration and building resilience".
An innovative, flexible and effective tool
The debates held in this edition of the Resilience Forum will benefit from input from the new Country Resilience and Fragility Assessment (CRFA) tool, which seeks to determine the internal and external pressures on countries and their capacity to address this issue.
For the first time in the history of fragility and resilience evaluation tools, the CRFA introduces the criteria of "effects of regional contagion" and "climate change".
"This is a flexible, effective and easy-to-use tool. It makes it easier to identify pockets of fragility and then to find the appropriate responses to build resilience. I am certain that it will bring real added value to our discussions," said Mr Tapsoba.
In addition to choosing migration as the theme of the third edition, the Bank is working on this issue in close collaboration with the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African civil society and the African business community.
The President of the Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, will be a member of the high-level panel on migration, chaired by the former Head of State of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, alongside 15 other dignitaries including the General Secretary of UNECA, Vera Songwe, and former Prime Minister of Senegal, Aminata Touré.
The Bank has also launched a programme entitled "Jobs for Youth in Africa", which aims to provide employment opportunities for young Africans, particularly in the agricultural sector and, most especially, to prevent young people from succumbing to the temptation of viewing migration as a way out.
"The future of African youth is not at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea; it is here, in Africa," Adesina.
In 2018, more than 300 participants attended the second edition of the Africa Resilience Forum, which was themed “Strengthening the resilience of those at the bottom of the ladder."
Even more are expected this year, not only because of the relevance and timeliness of the debate on migration in Africa, Europe, the USA and the rest of the world, but also for the opportunity to find joint, sustainable solutions.