In a bid to develop better migration policies and programmes, The African Migration Observatory opened in in the Moroccan capital Rabat on Friday.
The platform, launched by the African Union, will gather important migration data and aims to link African countries to improve migration policies.
“Today, Africa will have its own data, this will allow us to disprove several myths about migration,” said Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita at a ceremony he co-chaired with the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira El Fadil.
“This inauguration could not have come at a better time, it coincides with International Migrants Day, a happy coincidence that is only symbolic,” he added.
The AMO’s mission will be to collect, analyse and exchange data across “an interconnected system” linking African countries to improve migration policies that are “often ineffective due to a lack of data”, according to the inauguration document.
“Today is indeed the historic and momentous occasion in Africa. Historic, in that the African Migration Observatory, becomes the first-ever, such continental institution in Africa,” said ElFadil.
Migration in Africa happens mostly on the continent. Some 80 percent of migrants from African countries stay on the continent, only 12 percent entering Europe, and the remainder travels elsewhere, according to figures released by Morroco in 2018.
The majority of African’s migrate to South Africa with 3.1 million arrivals. The Ivory Coast and Nigeria come in second and third most popular destinations.
The European Union is concerned with the regulation of migration, especially in Africa.
But the tightening of EU border controls has led to a sharp drop in irregular entries since the migration peak in 2015.
They were down 92 percent in 2019, compared to the peak in 2015, and down 14 percent over the first eight months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, according to the European agency Frontex.
The AU plans to open two more bodies dedicated to migration.