THE International Organisation for Migration Zimbabwe (IOM) has called on the government to strengthen the country’s migration policies, amid the country’s worsening economic crisis and vulnerability to natural disasters fuelling migration.
This emerged during a capacity building workshop held recently in the capital to guarantee and contribute towards the urgent establishment of a governance matrix in Zimbabwe which is migrant-centred, gender sensitive, human rights-based and constitutionally-grounded.
IOM chief of mission Mario Lito Malanca said migration was an inevitable process within countries, especially those with unstable economies, hence the need for mainstreaming migration into development processes by putting in place sound policies and initiatives.
“For us, increased migration is inevitable, due to the digital revolution, distance-shrinking technologies, demographics and disasters; it is necessary, for durable and equitable economic growth; and migration is desirable, if well-governed.
“With increased natural disasters and the economic crisis being experienced, not only in Zimbabwe, but across southern Africa, people are bound to migrate for better opportunities hence it is important for the government to develop sound migration strategies and policies,” Malanca said.
Malanca added that in addition to designing migration policies, it was also important to address the root causes driving people to migrate to other countries as a long term solution.
“As we face the continuation of simultaneous, unprecedented and complex emergencies, people will continue to flee and resort to migration as a coping mechanism.
“To face the challenges associated with such scenarios, we need to actively tackle the root causes and promote and abide by commonly shared values that will address the risks to such mobility,” Malanca said.
Speaking at the same event, Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda said migration poses both benefits and challenges to society hence the need for better management of the phenomenon.
“On a daily basis, media houses churn out sad stories on migration. In the first week of February this year, the British Guardian reported that 102 migrants, including seven children from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria were rescued whilst trying to enter Britain using inflatable boats.
“Whilst some migrants manage to reach their destination, others have been unfortunate such as with the case in 2013 where 368 migrants died following the sinking of two boats near the Italian island of Lampedusa. According to the IOM, in 2016 almost 8 000 migrants died or went missing worldwide,” he said.
“To this end, parliamentarians as policy makers have a grave responsibility of putting in place measures and policies which address the root causes of migration in an attempt to mitigate the exigencies of the phenomenon of migration so that their negative impacts are ameliorated.”
Mudenda further said that migration could contribute towards economic growth through Diaspora remittance.
According to the World Bank, in 1990 migrants remitted about US$29 billion to low and middle income countries.
In the year 2000, the amount more than doubled to US$74 billion and by 2016 it stood at US$429 billion, while global remittances are more than three times the amount of official development aid from developed countries.