October 4, 2022 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Regional meeting deliberated on the road map of Harmonization of Remittance Policies project in the member states, today in Addis Ababa.
The objective of the two-day meeting is to deliberate on the road map of the Regional Harmonization of Remittance Policies in the IGAD Region project in line with the several key multinational frameworks and agreements.
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Madam, Fathia Alwan, the Director for Social Development of Division, welcomed the participants and lauded the efforts the IGAD and UNCDF project teams who jointly undertook preliminary survey in our region with respect to the existing regulatory policy framework, payment infrastructure related to migration remittances and stakeholders engaged in the industry.
“I am aware that the team will present the regional overview regarding migrants’ remittances in our region”, the Director added.
Furthermore Madam Fathia, disclosed that the recent estimates show that the number of migrant population in the IGAD region is 9.8 million (4% of the region’s total population), and keeps increasing.
“The IGAD countries do not have a common policy on standards for key payment technologies, procedures, and security features which makes the reconciliation process more complex and creating processing costs and delays for the beneficiaries”, she stressed.
In his opening Speech, Elia Mandari, Lead Specialist – Policy and Capacity building, Migration and Remittances, UNCDF disclosed that the road map aims to obtain a commitment from IGAD Member States to a shared vision to address complex regulatory and operational issues that would benefit individual countries and the region as a whole and have carry-on benefits for other economic sectors at both national and regional levels.
“UNCDF is honored that the IGAD Secretariat has accepted to play a pivotal role among the key stakeholders, and with thanks to the generous support of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, we stand ready to extend our technical expertise to you to the fullest in the implementation of the roadmap”, he said.
Representatives from Ethiopia, as host country and representative of the Republic of Sudan and the Chair of IGAD,gave their opening remarks.
The challenges facing remittance flows and the underlying frictions vary considerably from one IGAD Member State to another in terms of their scope, nature, types of entities, market dynamics, and regulatory set-ups that could contribute to improvements.
Participants drawn from the Permanent and Principal Secretaries of the IGAD member states’ ministries of foreign affairs and Senior Financial Advisor from ministry Finance of IGAD member states, UNCDF and IGAD attend the meeting.
At the End of the meeting of the Harmonization of Remittance Policies project in the IGAD region endorse the IGAD roadmap on the harmonization of remittances policies in the region with comments from the Member States and allow its implementation under the coordination of the IGAD Secretariat as well as deliberate and agree on the establishment of a National Working Group on Remittance under the existing National Coordination Mechanism on Migration and on the establishment of a regional Steering Committee on Remittance,on enhancing migration and remittance data collection, analysis, including harmonization of concepts, definitions, and methodologies and approve the way forward as presented in this meeting.
Budget for the various activities funded from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Most countries in the IGAD region are migrant origin, transit, and destination countries. The top five destination economies for IGAD migrants are Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan.
The IGAD region is home to many families who have breadwinners living and working abroad. That is not only true in Africa, but for the world—four percent of the global population are migrants. In 2021, remittances to the IGAD region increased by 8.6 percent to $8.8 billion, 12 demonstrating resilience from the pandemic.
IGAD and UNCDF have entered into partnership agreement and started the implementation of the Harmonization Project in 2021.