Deconstructing Migration Myths

Published on 6th February 2018

The African Agenda on Migration is based on the idea that we need to know the full range of dimensions involved in the migration phenomenon in order to understand it properly. In this regard, I think the time has come to deconstruct, one by one, the myths associated with migration:

1. There is no massive influx of migrants, since the latter account for only 3.4 per cent of the world population.

2. African migration is essentially intra-African. Worldwide, migration accounts for less than 14 per cent of the population. As far as Africa is concerned, 4 out of 5 African migrants remain in the Continent.

3. Migration does not impoverish host countries since 85% of migrants' incomes remain in those countries.

4. Migration is a natural phenomenon which is part of the solution, not of the problem. We should adopt a positive stance on the issue of migration by highlighting the humanistic rationale of shared responsibility and solidarity.

When one sees migration for what it really is, shedding the myths that convey a shockingly distorted image of the phenomenon, one realizes that this is a global issue – one that is crucial for our continent. It deserves a fresh, Africa-centered approach combining realism, tolerance and a commitment to make reason prevail over fear.

As regards migration management, the African Agenda on Migration proposes an approach based on national policies, sub-regional coordination, a continental vision and international partnership. This presupposes a paradigm shift, an introspective and positive redefinition of migration as well as genuine political will on the part of States, which all have a vested interest in making sure migration is safe, legal and orderly, seeing to it that human rights are respected.

This Agenda should seek to make migration a lever for co-development, a pillar of South-South Cooperation and an instrument of solidarity.

To this end, it is suggested that we:

--set up an African Migration Observatory whose terms of reference would be the triad Understand, Anticipate, Act. Its mission would be to develop observation and the exchange of information between African countries in order to promote controlled management of migration flows. My country proposes that this Observatory be based in Morocco.

--create a post of AU Special Envoy for Migration, who would be tasked with coordinating AU policies in this area.

The African Agenda on Migration can inform the process of developing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Morocco, which will be hosting the Intergovernmental Conference, that is to adopt the Global Compact, and the Global Forum for Migration and Development, in December 2018, pledges to make these multilateral meetings a platform for Africa.

Since 2015, more than 6,200 African migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean. To ensure that the deaths of women, children and men in Lampedusa and that the infamous practices in Libya will not remain without consequences, we are, indeed, duty-bound to act!

How many more migration-related tragedies do we still have to witness before our societies change the way they perceive migration?

More than ever, our continent needs to address migration in a spirit of unremitting solidarity. Our collective wisdom will be our main asset as we seek to implement the African Agenda on Migration. Unity is the key to success; inter-African cooperation is the pathway to it.

By HM King Mohammed VI

King of Morocco.  

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