Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021

October 5, 2021 (GENEVA, Switzerland): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency co-hosted a special high-level information sharing session of the IGAD Support Platform on the Solutions Initiative for displacement situation in South Sudan and Sudan.

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May 20, 2021 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) today announced that they have entered into a two-year  agreement to harmonize remittance policies across the IGAD countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Remittances, the cross-border payments that migrants living and working outside their country of origin send back home to loved ones, are at the moment subject to a patchwork of policies and regulations that may differ significantly from one region to another, or even from one country to another within the same region. The multiple guidelines governing everything from acceptable forms of personal identification, maximum transaction sizes, licensing requirements for money-transfer providers, and other factors combine to create a formal remittance market that can be difficult for customers to navigate, a factor which drives them to use less transparent and riskier informal alternatives. 

In close collaboration with the IGAD secretariat’s technical experts, UNCDF will map out all the relevant policies and regulations within each IGAD country. The team will then analyze them to see contradictory or inconsistent guidelines, suggest priority areas for harmonization, and propose concrete steps for implementation. These efforts are all ultimately aimed at keeping remittances flowing in this region where they are vitally important, and shifting more of them from the informal unregulated networks and into safe, regulated, and transparent channels. 

“This partnership with UNCDF represents a continuation of IGAD’s history of support to our Member States, and ultimately to the individuals and families of the region,” said His Excellency Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary of IGAD. “The work that our two organizations now undertake together will strengthen central banks and other government stakeholders, which will in turn promote increased remittance flows through formal channels, and contribute to the implementation of IGAD's Migration Action Plan 2015-2020, including its specific strategic priorities on remittances.”  

Along with harmonizing the policy and regulatory frameworks that govern remittance flows, the IGAD/UNCDF initiative will seek to build a robust body of market research, with data about both the supply and demand for remittance services. Key to the initiative will be also to understand how remittances, if shifted from cash to digital channels, could be the gateway for migrants and their families to other value-added financial products that could build their resilience and financial health. Towards that end, IGAD and UNCDF will also facilitate peer-learning exchanges between key stakeholders including that of the IGAD Secretariat, central banks and other relevant authorities together with remittance service providers and other private-sector actors so that all stakeholders may learn first-hand about each other’s constraints, priorities, goals, and incentives.  

 “As the agency designated by the United Nations as the capital-providing fund, first and foremost, for the least developed among the developing countries, UNCDF is deeply committed to building inclusive digital economies that leave no one behind,” said Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary of UNCDF. “The partnership we announce today with IGAD holds real promise to ensure that that the power of digital financial services and products—products that can begin with remittances but should not end there—can be harnessed for the benefit of migrants and their families.” 

Major funding for the activities to be undertaken in connection with the new LoA will be provided by Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, as part of its broad strategy of engagement with African stakeholders including the African Institute of Remittances (AIR), the African Union, and the regional economic communities towards harmonization of payment infrastructure, policies, and regulations. “Sida congratulates IGAD and UNCDF on this milestone,” said Ulla Andrén, Sida’s head of regional development cooperation Africa.” Sweden has been a partner to IGAD since 1986 and we are glad to support this very important project with UNCDF that will help IGAD and its member states to realize its strategic priorities on remittances that will assist the migrants and their families.” 

 

 

 

 

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IGAD held its first Regional Technical Experts’ meeting on the Kampala Declaration on jobs, livelihood, and self-reliance for refugees, returnees, and host communities in the IGAD Region. Held virtually from 27- 28th April 2021, the meeting brought together nearly 100 experts from Member States, regional and international partners to take stock on achieved milestones, challenges, best practices and opportunities.

IGAD Member States have made considerable milestones towards the economic inclusion of refugees. The Member States have reiterated their commitment to implement the Kampala Declaration and to include refugees in their national systems.  

The regional meeting panel on financing displacement highlighted using financing tactically to create an enabling environment for solutions to displacement, the importance of building coherent government-led approaches, and investing in evidence and learning to accelerate progress and drive efficiency. Engaging the private sector and the diaspora to create jobs and support national development were also emphasized.

Ethiopia’s, Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA) Director General Tesfahun Gobezay Kinfie noted “displacement financing mechanisms should be designed and implemented in a manner that can create an environment conducive to ensure that refugees and host communities are not left behind”. The provision of predictable and sustainable support, blending short-term humanitarian relief with medium and long-term development processes are critical for effective displacement financing modalities.

Somalia’s Director for Durable Solutions Zahra Abdi Mohamed under the Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development emphasised financing investments should be aligned with government priorities, plans and strategies for solutions and poverty reduction. Mrs. Abdi further called for IGAD in partnership with governments to map out opportunities for multi-year long term development financing models of interventions including private sector investments, fostering public private partnerships and mobilising diaspora.

IGAD member states and its partners further exchanged on the challenges, achievements, and best practices on the five priority areas of the Declaration – enabling environment, private sector and CSO engagement, sustainable return and reintegration, natural resource management as well as regional coordination, partnership and financing in panel discussion.

The outcomes of the discussion will feed into upcoming planned national consultations, IGAD ministerial meeting and Summit on the Nairobi Declaration and the regional stock-taking report for the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) 2021.

What will the Kampala Declaration change in the daily life of refugees and returnees? For example, do refugee receive a work permit and are allowed to work, move freely, have increased access to TVET and marked-oriented skills development or can open bank accounts and have access to financial services.

What is the Kampala Declaration about?

On 28th March 2019, IGAD Member States adopted the Kampala Declaration on jobs, livelihood, and self-reliance for refugees, returnees, and host communities in the IGAD Region (“the Kampala Declaration”). In the Kampala Declaration and its accompanying Action Plan, IGAD Member States committed to five priority areas:

  1. conducive legal environment for economic inclusion; for example, to provide access to markets and financial services or the right to work and freedom of movement;
  2. the importance of private sector and civil society to create sustainable livelihoods and jobs;
  3. sustainable return and reintegration;
  4. natural resource management for livelihoods and self-reliance;
  5. regional coordination, partnership and financing.

IGAD’s response to the refugee situation in the region

IGAD pursues a regional response to provide durable solutions for refugees and improving their livelihoods, education and health. This directly facilitates the implementation of international policies, such as the New York Declaration and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) of 2016 and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) of 2018.

IGADs regional approach is deeply rooted in the Nairobi Declaration (2017), which was originally formulated to address the protracted situation of Somali refugees but was since then extended to cover all refugee situations in the region. More specialised policies on thematic areas were formulated in the course, such as the inclusion of refugees in national education system (Djibouti Declaration, 2017) and in national labour markets and improving refugees’ livelihoods (Kampala Declaration, 2019). The IGAD Support Platform, which was launched during the Global Refugee Forum in 2019 in Geneva gives these policies an overall frame on the international arena.

 

Attachments:
Download this file (Annex to the Kampala Declaration-action plan.pdf)Annex to the Kampala Declaration-action plan.pdf[ ]650 kB2021-05-04 16:48
Download this file (Kampala Declaration.pdf)Kampala Declaration.pdf[ ]627 kB2021-05-05 06:04

April 5, 2021 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti) The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan convened a virtual follow-up meeting on the Solutions Initiative for the Displacement Situation in Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. The meeting was attended by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the US Ambassador to Djibouti and the European Union Head of Regional and Multi-Country Programmes.

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