The King of Morocco Mohammed VI on Wednesday called on African leaders to pool efforts to tackle the issue of migration, pledging his dedication to the problem as the African Union (AU) leader in charge of migration issue on the continent.
“In my capacity as the Leader in charge of the migration issue within the African Union, I am particularly keen to submit proposals to my Brothers and Sisters the Heads of State at the next AU Summit in order to chart a real African Agenda on migration,” the King stated in a message addressed to the ongoing EU-Africa Summit in Abidjan.
He recalled that in July 2017 during the AU 29th summit, he submitted to the AU Chairman, President Alpha Condé, the preliminary draft outlining the broad lines of this Agenda, insisting that “this full-fledged Agenda requires that we speak with one African voice, in accordance with our own work plan”.
King Mohammed VI was appointed AU leader in charge of the migration issue on the continent after the North African coun-try regained its seat in the continental organization, 33 years after it walked out to protest against the membership of the pseudo-Sahrawi Republic.
The preliminary draft outlined the required steps to address migration, notably through adopting national policies, improving sub-regional coordination, and harnessing continental and international efforts to ensure an adequate management of migration.
Given the unprecedented migratory flows we are witnessing, that Agenda is more important than ever. It involves four levels of action: national, regional, continental and international, he explained in his message to the AU-EU summit.
Under this agenda, the Moroccan Monarch insisted that African countries would shoulder their responsibilities in terms of guaranteeing the rights and dignity of African migrants on their soil, in accordance with their international commitments, thus doing away with the shameful, inhuman practices inher-ited from a bygone era. He was thus referring to the gross breach on migrants’ human rights in Libya, including the slave trading of the migrants as reported by CNN this month.
“Libya, a new crossing point between Africa and Europe, has become the corridor of all evils, epitomizing all types of misfortunes. We are deeply shocked by the atrocious practices reported by the media and currently plaguing migrants in our region. This is an utter denial of humanity,” he underscored.
“Today, a new vision is needed: we ought to turn immigration into a subject of peaceful debate and constructive exchange,” the King insisted.
The Monarch went on to brush aside what he called four baseless myths, namely that African migration is not mostly intercontinental, it is primarily intra-African: out of every 5 African migrants, 4 remain in Africa. Irregular migration does not predominate; it accounts for a mere 20% of international migration. Migration does not impoverish host countries: 85% of migrants’ earnings remain in host countries. Lastly, there is no longer any distinction between migrant-emitting, transit and destination countries.
Insisted that European policy should also change and that a new vision is needed, he urged “to turn immigration into a subject of peaceful debate and constructive exchange.” “It is the time for action and for finding effective solutions to this issue”.
In his message, the Monarch also dealt with African-European relations, underscoring that solidarity between Europe and Africa is built on shared responsibility and mutual dependence, and that “the logic of a vertical aid pattern can today give way to a genuine horizontal partnership”.
“To that end, there should be a shift in the EU-Africa Partnership towards a new bi-continental Pact. Both Africa and Europe must rise, together, to inevitable challenges through shared competitiveness, co-localization of productive businesses, regulated human mobility and fruitful cultural exchanges,” the Monarch advocated, pointing out that both groupings “are just as concerned by opportunities and responsibilities as they are by the challenges they face”.