The African Migration Observatory was inaugurated, on Friday, December 18, 2020, in Rabat, at the proposition of HM King Mohammed VI, in His capacity as African Leader on the issue of migration, with the aim to develop a process for collecting, analysing and sharing information between African countries in this area.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad Mr. Nasser Bourita, the Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Mrs Amira El Fadil, in the presence of Minister Delegate for Moroccans Residing Abroad Mrs Nezha El Ouafi, Ambassador-Director of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI) Mr.Mohamed Methqal, and a number of ambassadors accredited in Rabat.
On this occasion, Mr. Bourita and Mrs El Fadil signed a headquarters agreement for the African Migration Observatory between the Kingdom of Morocco and the African Union Commission.
"The African Migration Observatory that we are inaugurating today is the fruit of two years of hard work and fruitful collaboration by our country with the African Union Commission", underlined Bourita in a speech after the inauguration ceremony, welcoming in this regard the commitment and support of President of the African Union Commission Mr. Moussa Faki, to bring this project to fruition.
The Minister further affirmed that this inauguration happens at a good time since it coincides with the International Migrants Day, noting that it sends a strong message to the international community on the determination of Morocco and Africa to establish a better migration governance continentally.
"This inauguration also takes place a few days ahead of the 2nd anniversary of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that we adopted in Marrakech two years ago", added Bourita, specifying that the Marrakech Compact and the Rabat Observatory are complementary and serve the same cause, on different levels.
He also stressed that it is no coincidence that it was precisely during the Conference for the adoption of the Marrakesh Compact "that we signed the headquarters agreement with the President of the AU Commission Moussa Faki", noting that it is no coincidence that the Compact cited the African Migration Observatory as an example of a regional instrument of migration governance.
The inauguration of the Observatory is the demonstration of the voluntary-based leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, as Leader of the African Union on the migration issue, underlined Bourita, noting that the the Observatory was born from a royal vision and that it is the flagship proposal of the African Agenda on Migration, presented by HM the King, in January 2018, on the occasion of the 30th Summit of the African Union.
With regard to the objectives of the African Migration Observatory, the Minister indicated that this creation allows to equip the African continent with an effective tool enabling it to meet its real and pressing need to generate better knowledge, understanding and mastery of the migratory phenomenon.
In this regard, he stressed that the Observatory is a pioneering body in Africa and that it is the first body of the African Union that Morocco hosts.
In addition to being a pioneer, Mr.Bourita went on, it must also be innovative in its approach and in its functioning, by an effective work of demystification of the erroneous stereotypes on African migration and by a positive approach in order to shed light, through objective data, on the full potential of migration with regard to the migration-development nexus.
He noted that the observatory must ensure a "triple function" of understanding, anticipation and proposal and must be used as a tool for advocacy and decision-making support, as a platform of dialogue between African experts and stakeholders and as an instrument for building African capacities, thus providing the material for formulating informed and enlightened public policies.
Regarding the hosting of Morocco of the headquarters of the Observatory, the Minister affirmed the commitment of the Kingdom to provide the Observatory with a headquarters of the highest standards, as well as all the necessary logistical means, expressing his joy to welcome the interim team which will allow the effective launch of the Observatory’s operations and which will contribute to the creation of two deliverable and concrete projects that are the first African migration database and a portal of Africa on migration data as IOM’s.
"Our Continent can now be delighted to have its own Observatory for Migration and thus make migration governance progress", said Mr. Bourita, adding that "we begin a long-term work, a work which is necessary and which must be the foundation".
For her part, Mrs El Fadil indicated that the inauguration of the African Migration Observatory constitutes a historic and extremely important occasion for Africa, considering that the Observatory is the first continental institution of its kind on the continent, and embodies the beginning of joint efforts to provide balanced and adapted data tailored to Africa’s migration needs.
She added that the observatory is able to provide the continent with up-to-date data on the migratory phenomenon, which will contribute to a good management of the issue and will strengthen the coherence of migration policies and initiatives in this regard.
She further underlined the need for African countries to communicate with regions hosting immigrants from the point of view of knowledge, facts and evidence, noting that the observatory will, in this regard, be an indispensable tool in carrying out the African Agenda on Migration, and that it will enable African countries to reap the benefits of a migration-development nexus as the continent strives to put in place the principles of Agenda 2063.
The African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, expressed on behalf of all Africans on the continent, her "deep gratitude" to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and to the Kingdom for the support and resources made available to the observatory, stressing that "without this support, the inauguration of this observatory which will become a center of excellence at the international level would not have taken place".
The creation of the African Migration Observatory will provide the African continent with an effective tool allowing it to respond to its real and pressing need to generate better knowledge, understanding and control of the migration phenomenon, to collect, analyse and exchange of data between African countries and promote informed governance of African migration.