During the recently held High Level Forum Africa – Europe 2018, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, criticised the many nations that didn’t sign the Global Compact for Migration in Marrakech. He tweeted, “I was recently in
#Marrakech where many EU states didn’t sign the global compact on Migration, even though it is not binding. We must not let political difference divide us. We must speak frankly. #Digitisation offers a new smart approach to Youth employment #africaeurope2018“
On 18 December 2018, at the invitation of the Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, and the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe was held in Vienna. The discuss centred on “Taking cooperation to the digital age”. More than fifty official delegations from member states of the African Union and the European Union took part in the Forum. Along with almost a thousand innovators and start‑ups from Africa and Europe, as well as established companies.
During the forum, stakeholders were reflecting and discussing solutions to secure prosperity and competitiveness on both continents. More so, to deepen the relationship in all aspects with a specific focus on taking cooperation to the digital age. Some of the focus areas were;
- Agriculture: here is an opportunity for Africa and Europe to join forces to enhance food production and farming; By supporting the connectivity of smallholders to the internet; increase the uptake of advisory services and extend the availability of affordable e-Agriculture solutions.
- FinTech in Africa: The round table concludes that the potential for FinTech in African markets is huge. Therefore, FinTech start-ups need to be encouraged in African countries.
- Jobs for the 21st Century: Participants highlighted the great potential of digitalisation in this respect. ICT skills are critical to Africa’s and Europe’s future development as well as the creation of an entrepreneurial environment.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL COMPACT FOR MIGRATION
The Global Compact for Migration is an intergovernmentally negotiated agreement that covers “all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner”. There are 23 objectives and commitments listed in the draft agreement. These include;
- Collecting and using accurate and anonymised data to develop evidence-based migration policy,
- Ensuring that all migrants have proof of identity,
- Enhancing availability and flexibility for regular migration,
- Encouraging cooperation for tracking missing migrants and saving lives,
- Ensuring migrants can access basic services,
- Making provisions for both full inclusion of migrants and social cohesion
CRITICISING THE GLOBAL COMPACT FOR MIGRATION
The Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, stated that the compact would reduce Austria’s sovereignty and mix up the difference between illegal and legal immigration as well as that between economic and humanitarian immigration
The Australian government has criticised the agreement, claiming that it does not distinguish between legal and illegal migrants, particularly when it comes to welfare. They have also claimed that the compact could impose obligations to support migrants even when they have returned to their country of origin. The Australian government believes that the compact would undermine their current migration policies.