It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to Uganda for the 3rd Pan-African Forum on Migration. I would like to thank the African Union and other partners for choosing Uganda as the host for this important forum whose objective is to formulate an African Common Position on the Global Compact on Migration.
I am aware that the African Union is spearheading commendable efforts of bringing together the various African Regional groupings to formulate and harmonize policies on migration. This forum is timely and prepares the continent for negotiations towards the Global compact on migration in 2018.
Distinguished guests and participants, migration is a topical issue all over the world which we now have to accept and humanely deal with especially by not closing our borders.
The number of migrants worldwide has continued to grow over the past ten years mainly due to wars, human rights violations, environmental and climatic changes, economic hardships, among others. Today, over 1 billion people in the world are migrants, representing one in seven people globally.
Africa hosts the third highest number of migrants after Europe and America. Of these, women and children account for slightly less than half of the migrant population.
Migration, however, has been known to be the oldest remedy to poverty and development with positive effects, if well managed. It is therefore incumbent upon Governments to design evidence based migration policies that seek to maximize positive impacts especially in the areas of investment, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, education and trade.
It is also important to note that most of the migrants are of working age, which affects the future size of population and demographic patterns. This therefore, as earlier mentioned, affects the economics of sending and hosting countries both positively and negatively depending on how it is managed.
Migrants can represent an expansion of labour but poses challenges for support services and respective national security.
On forced migration, Uganda currently is host to over 1.2 million refugees from the region and beyond, making it the largest refugee hosting country in Africa and the third largest in the world.
This has had an impact on the socio-economic, security, environmental aspects among others. This, therefore, calls for concerted effort to address the causes and effects of this forced migration.
Against this background, Government of Uganda and the United Nations will on 22nd and 23rd June 2017 host a Solidarity Summit on Refugees to raise global awareness about the plight of refugees and raise funds to support them and their host communities.
Africa has abundance of resources and our people should not be dying on dangerous journeys on the Mediterranean in hope of better opportunities. This means that we need to create conducive environments for our people to prosper and live a good and peaceful life. This can be done by investing in social, physical and economic infrastructure as well envisaged by the African Union.
As we focus on the issues of migration on the continent and globally, we need to study and share information on the current migration dynamics, trends and patterns to keep abreast with emerging issues.
We also need reliable data on migration at the National, Regional and Continental level in order to find sustainable and workable solutions to the challenges of Migration in Africa.
We not only need to focus on migration in Africa but also from Africa to other Continents notably Europe, America, and the Middle-East where our people have increasingly migrated through very dangerous and inhumane routes.
It is my hope that this forum will enrich the African consensus on governing migration, with recommendations to be presented to the AU summit next year as Africa’s input to the Global compact on migration.
During this forum, let us discuss a holistic approach to migration including development, employment, human rights, peace and security, climate change and humanitarian dimensions.
It is now my pleasure to declare this conference duly opened. I wish you fruitful deliberations and a comfortable and pleasant stay in our beautiful country, Uganda.
I thank you all.
President Yoweri Museveni’s speech at the 3rd Pan-African Forum on migration