Kenya—Regional Workshop On Labour Migration

International Organization for Migration (Geneva), Press Release, 4 May 2004

Geneva—IOM and the East African Community (EAC) have co-hosted a regional workshop on Labour Migration and Migration for Development in Nairobi.

The workshop brought together representatives of the Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan governments, the EAC, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), IOM and representatives of the private sector.

The workshop follows requests by the Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan governments to IOM to strengthen their institutional capacities to manage labuor migration processes, take advantage of opportunities for legal labour migration abroad, and harness the contribution of their diasporas for development.

The meeting focused on a series of IOM-funded country specific assessments conducted by national and international consultants. They included: action-oriented studies of current legislation, institutional structures and resources, as well as procedures and services in the management of labour migration; an identification of policy guidelines and regulatory frameworks including incentives, constraints and existing structures and gaps to improve remittance services and enhance its development impact; a mapping of existing communication capacities and technologies for virtual skill transfer.

Participants discussed ways to enhance protection and provide support to labour migrants and recommended measures for expanding labour migration in areas of surplus manpower. They also agreed the need to increase awareness of labour migration issues within government and civil society.

According to the World Bank, in 2002 recorded workers remittance receipts of developing countries amounted to US$ 80 billion—far more than aid flows. Sub-Saharan Africa received US$ 4 billion or 5% of total recorded remittances.

Remittance flows are important in all three countries as a source of external finance and a source of income to households. The workshop discussed how remittance services can be made more cost effective, accessible and reliable, and how the development potential of remittances can be enhanced.