The East Africa Migration Route: Building co-operation, information sharing and developing joint practical initiatives amongst countries of origin, transit and destination

Background Information:

Migration can be a constructive economic and social force. But illegal migration has serious negative consequences for all countries concerned. The trans-national dimension of migration requires close co-operation among origin, transit and destination countries in order to jointly identify and implement effective methods for reducing illegal migration flows. The border and migration management regimes in East Africa are uniformly weak, characterized by porous borders, inadequately trained and ill-equipped staff, and minimal regional and cross-regional technical cooperation

The overall objective of this programme is to implement a series of initiatives to address the specific needs and requests for assistance by African target countries. The project, is designed to form a key part of the EU-Africa Dialogue and therefore addressed to authorities from East African countries with particular focus on IGAD Member States responsible for border control and the fight against illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings, with a view to strengthening their respective organizational and managerial capacities to manage migration and developing their capacities in the fields of collecting and analysing intelligence in order to identify facilitators and disrupt their smuggling and related activities.

Additionally the project specifically matches and addresses the interests and needs of the countries of East Africa. The AU has specifically sought to lay an appropriate foundation for building sustainable migration capacity within the region. In its migration policy framework document adopted in Banjul in July 2006, it stated that comprehensive and balanced approaches to migration must be formulated. The AU have also emphasized the need for greater capacity building in the area of migration management, and urged member states to undertake such activities. The project is therefore in direct response to requests by the AU and governments of East African Member States. State’s sustained interest in capacity building through dialogue and technical assistance has also emerged as a matter of consensus in recent consultations between the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the AU-DSA (Department of Social Affairs) and the Intergovernmental Authority of Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa. 

Duration of the Action is 15 months.

Objectives of the action

Overall Objectives: to improve inter-state and intra-regional cooperation in East Africa, and cooperation between these countries and EU Member States on migration management issues in general and in the fight against the illegal immigration in particular; to address policy and operational challenges associated with migration in East Africa with a view to building the capacity of the targeted African countries and the IGAD Secretariat to manage migration.

Specific Objectives:

i)    Establish a Migration Resource Centre and a network of contacts among officials and an ongoing forum; a Regional Consultative Process (RCP) for the exchange of information and best practice on migration management;
ii)    Enhance the capacity of the targeted African countries, the IGAD Secretariat and EU Member States to collect and analyse intelligence relating to illegal migration in order to identify facilitators and disrupt their activities;
iii)     Organize two technical workshops on key thematic migration issues;
iv)    Address key gaps in the region’s border and migration management structures;
v)     Provide training to officials from East African countries on technical and policy migration management topics;
vi)    Inform potential irregular migrants via targeted publicity campaigns of the dangers of irregular migration.
vii)    Assess the feasibility of undertaking of a joint operation in an African country to disrupt illegal migration.

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), African Union (AU), International Organisation for Migration (IOM), European Union, United Kingdom, Italy, Malta and the Netherlands.

Target groups
Governments of Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda and Yemen

Final beneficiaries

IGAD, Governments/nationals of Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda and Yemen. Governments and nationals of EU Member States currently affected by illegal immigration from East Africa.
Estimated results
i)    Sustainable foundations for regional migration management, through the creation of an IGAD Migration Resource Centre.
ii)    Improved co-operation between EU Member States and the target countries in the field of migration.
iii)    Increased skill and capacity on the part of the target countries to manage and analyse migration flows.
iv)    Better trained migration officials with enhanced skills levels on migration management issues.
v)    Decrease in the flow of irregular and uninformed migrants from East Africa.
vi)    Gaps in border management assessed and addressed.
vii)    A Regional Consultative process (RCP) to enhance cooperation at the sub-regional level.
viii)    The feasibility of a joint operation with an African country to disrupt irregular migration assessed.

Main Activities

1. IGAD Migration Resource Centre.
The establishment of an IGAD Migration Resource Centre at the IGAD Secretariat to act as a clearing house for strengthened and harmonized migration management operations, and as the hub for a network of contact points in East Africa and to coordinate with the EU Joint .Analysis Unit.

2. Joint Analysis Unit.
Creation of a special unit of EU debriefing analysts that could be deployed in specific locations on the East Africa migration route to analyse debriefing material and train third country officials in debriefing and intelligence analysis.

3. EU-Africa Technical Workshops.
Organizing two technical consultative workshops on migration management issues including: a) inter-state and intra-regional cooperation on migration management; b) border management and irregular migration.

4. Technical Assessments and Professional Training.
Provision of preliminary technical assessments of strategically selected land borders and migration processes, and targeted recommendations for addressing key gaps in the region’s border and migration management structures, including professional training.

5. Information Campaigns.
To design and deliver publicity campaigns directed at potential irregular migrants, advising them of the dangers of irregular migration and legal alternatives.

6. Feasibility study.
To undertake a feasibility study for the undertaking of a joint operation in an African country to disrupt illegal migration