PAP President Charumbira speaks on the Importance of the Benghazi Declaration on Migration - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Friday, June 7, 2024

PAP President Charumbira speaks on the Importance of the Benghazi Declaration on Migration

The President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), H.E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira has said that the Benghazi Declaration on Migration, issued on May 26, 2024, marks a pivotal step in addressing the complex and multifaceted issue of migration between Africa and Europe. He stated this in an exclusive interview with our correspondent on his return from the European – African Conference on Migration held in Benghazi, Libya from 25 – 26 May, 2024.

Our correspondent recalls that the Benghazi Declaration was unanimously adopted after extensive discussions among high-level representatives from African and European countries, Libyan government officials, members of civil society, and experts in the field of migration. .

Participants at the conference included African, European, and Libyan personalities, including His Excellency the President of the Pan-African Parliament, H.E. Fortune Charumbira; His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Libyan Government, H.E. Dr. Osama Hamad; Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Aguila Saleh; Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs ;and International Cooperation, Mr. Abdul Hadi Al-Hawaij; Minister of State for Illegal Migration Affairs Mr. Fathi Al-Tabawi; members of the Libyan, Pan-African and European Parliaments, government officials, experts, representatives of civil society organizations, and the private sector from 100 African and European countries, in addition to African migrants living abroad.

H.E. Hon. Charumbira commended the Libyan Government for the initiative of the conference, and noted that the Declaration underscores a comprehensive approach to tackling irregular migration, emphasizing development, economic investment, political cooperation, and security.

He believes that one of the primary highlights of the Benghazi Declaration is its focus on addressing the root causes of irregular migration. “Rather than relying solely on traditional security-based solutions, which have often proven ineffective, the Declaration advocates for a comprehensive win –win approach for both Africa and Europe, rooted in development, employment, and stability. By tackling issues such as poverty, lack of economic opportunities, and political instability, the Declaration aims to create conditions that encourage individuals to remain in their countries of origin, thereby reducing the pressures driving irregular migration”.

The approach, he said, is in recognition of the fact the issue transcends the capabilities of individual countries, thus necessitating consolidated and mobilized resources across both African and European continents. Above all, it calls for strategic partnerships that span political, economic, and security domains, emphasizing mutual values, interests, and respect.

Chief Charumbira disclosed that one of the key features of the Declaration is the announcement of an Africa Development Fund, which is a pivotal initiative aimed at fostering sustainable development across the continent. It will be managed by jointly by representatives from our continents and will be funded through financial contributions from European and African partners and any other donor entities. “This fund will support critical sectors including education, healthcare, infrastructure, and agriculture. For instance, improving the education sector through strategic planning, vocational training, and scholarships will enhance the skills and opportunities available to young Africans. Similarly, investments in healthcare will ensure better access to medical facilities and training for healthcare workers, thereby improving overall health outcomes”.

He also believes that the focus on infrastructure development, such as road networks, sanitation, electricity, and internet connectivity, is crucial for creating an environment conducive to economic growth. “By supporting agricultural projects and combating desertification and drought, the Declaration aims to achieve food security and reduce the impetus for migration driven by environmental and economic hardships”.

Economic empowerment is another cornerstone of the Benghazi Declaration, he said. “By promoting investments in key sectors like energy, transportation, digital infrastructure, and banking, the Declaration will stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities. Initiatives to economically empower migrant women, support free trade zones, and invest in manufacturing and mining sectors are designed to enhance the economic landscape of African countries, making them more attractive for their citizens to stay and thrive”.

On the political path outlined in the Declaration, H.E. Hon. Chief Charumbira stated that it emphasized the importance of legal migration systems, mutual respect for sovereignty, and combating hate speech and extremism in receiving countries. These measures are aimed at creating a balanced migration framework that respects the rights and safety of migrants while addressing security concerns especially at a time that immigration has become a topical issue in both Europe and North America as they face elections”.

“The Declaration stressed the need to enhance the military and security capabilities of African countries to combat terrorism, human trafficking, and other forms of organized crime. European partners are called upon to support these efforts through logistical aid, training, and information exchange, thereby contributing to the overall stability and security of the region”.

He also noted that the Declaration provides for the establishment of the Euro-African Employment Agency to be based in Brussels and the Afro-European Migration Observatory expected to be based in Benghazi. These institutions when established and operational, will play a vital role in facilitating cooperation, monitoring migration trends, and ensuring that migration policies are effectively implemented and aligned with the goals of both continents.

According to the PAP President, the Benghazi Declaration marks a critical step forward in managing migration between Africa and Europe. “By adopting a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of migration and fosters sustainable development, the Declaration sets a framework for long-term solutions. The collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships envisioned in the Declaration have the potential to transform the migration landscape, ensuring that it is managed in a way that benefits both African and European nations while upholding the dignity and rights of migrants” he concluded.


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