The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has unveiled Accra's Migration Governance Indicators assessment report.
The "Local Migration Governance Indicators (MGI) Accra City Profile 2019" which was outdoored in Accra on Wednesday 23rd October, is the first of its kind for a local Assembly in Ghana and expected to help the City Authority assess the comprehensiveness of its migration governance framework as well as efforts to achieve progress on Sustainable Development target 10.7, which calls upon all countries to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and the mobility of people, including the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah delivering an address said the issue of migration was a major contributing factor to the population growth in Accra and that there were no reliable data to inform City authorities on the trends, make-up and flow of migration to inform on how to manage the growth.
He said the studies documented in the Local MGI Accra City Profile would go a long way to inform the Assembly's planning process to ensure that all persons in the city live in and love it ,adding that, it would help the city take stock of how much progress was made in key areas - such as access to basic social services and social protection, the right to work, skills and qualifications, recognition schemes, bilateral labour agreements and serve as a basis to take necessary policy decisions in that respect.
“There is massive pressure on our social amenities due to the growth in population but unfortunately there is no reliable or credible city-level data to inform city managers in the direction to go. This new document has come at an opportune time and will go a long way to guide the city makes informed decisions on issues relating to migration,” he said.
The Project Manager of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nnamdi Iwuora who spoke on behalf of the Ghana Chief of Mission of IMO, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra indicated that migrants target cities because it rewards human capital.
He said “cities globally face unique challenges with regard to migration management. These include coping with rapid urbanization processes, population growth and the corresponding pressure this places on infrastructure and basic services; the expansion of slums; pollution – such as plastic pollution; and the challenges of responding to natural and human-made disasters, including climate change”.
“Urbanisation, if well planned, has the potential to improve people’s access to education, health, housing, other services and to expand their opportunities for economic productivity. Cities remain melting pots for fostering economic innovation, cultural diversity, and artistic expression" he added.
The Project Assistant of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Daniel Tagoe who presented key findings of the Local MGI Accra City Profile commended the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for carrying out some projects that do not impose restrictions from migrants.
He said in the area of education, healthcare and social security for migrants, while policies were decided at the national level, the AMA had a Social Welfare and Community Development Department which was responsible for the protection of vulnerable groups, including children, regardless of status hence adhering to international standards in fulfilment of migrants' rights.
He also noted that the AMA as parts of its stakeholder engagements invites all associations registered with it to general consultations on policies and laws that affect residents adding that the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) had integrated their operations at the local level into the structure of the AMA.
He said AMA also engages partners to address migration and related issues and impose no restrictions regarding access to the labour market and socio-economic wellbeing of migrants and society.
The C40 City Advisor and Chief Sustainability Advisor to the Mayor, Desmond Appiah cited Sao Paulo as one of the cities with attractive policies for migrants.
“Sao Paulo has twelve million residents and three and half million of them are migrants. The most interesting thing is that there is an Assembly for migrants so they have the Mayor of the city and Mayor for migrants. That particular position is rotated amongst the major migrant populations. This strategy is to ensure the migrant community feels part of the decision-making body of the City and to contribute positively to Sao Paolo's development” he said.
“Accra, on the other hand, does not have specific policies to attract migrants because our challenges are quite different but the Accra Metropolis attracts 11% of all migrants into Ghana. Montreal in Canada and Sao Paulo, Brazil have clear city level legal frameworks for having migrants and their integration into their cities”.
He added that even though through the Local MGI assessment it was clear that Accra has many practical engagements making it stand out positively, it still needed clear city-level policies and capacities which reflected national arrangements and structures on migration.
The pilot testing of the Local MGI was undertaken over the last year in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Montréal in Canada and Accra, Ghana. The Local MGI model framework compose of 87 indicators grouped under six different dimensions of migration governance namely Migrants' rights, whole of government approach, Partnerships, Socioeconomic well-being of migrants, Mobility dimension of crises as well as safe, orderly and regular migration.