Data can help manage human mobility, says Economic Commission for Africa’s Chinganya

The ECA’s African Centre for Statistics (ACS) this week participated in the first ever International Forum on Migration Statistics that was held in Paris, France.

The Forum, organized jointly by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) brought together 700 statisticians, researchers, policy makers and representatives from civil society.

ACS Director Oliver Chinganya said the Forum was crucial as it offered space for experts to exchange views on how to improve and innovate existing data collection to better understand global migration trends, drivers and impacts, and to support policy evaluation.

Mr. Chinganya, who sat on a panel that discussed “Challenges for improving the production and use of migration statistics”, said not much has been done in recent years on migration in terms of tracking stocks and flows.

“And yet migration is a key determinant of demographic patterns and dynamics of population trends. It also contributes to inclusive growth and sustainable development. In other words, it is an engine of economic growth, innovation and sustainable development,” the ACS Director said.

Data, Mr. Chinganya said, can help manage human mobility.

He highlighted the challenges not only affecting African countries but also nations in developing regions, including those with good statistical infrastructure.

Mr. Chinganya shared with delegates what the ECA was doing working with other Pan African and international agencies in that regard.

“Political will, funding, partnership and trust, as well as tapping on the big potential are the imperatives if we are to meet the objectives of Agenda 2063 and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development as well meet the data requirements,” he said.

The two-day event at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris consisted of five plenary sessions and close to forty parallel sessions.

“More and more, we are finding that without access to reliable, comprehensive and global data, managing migration policy becomes a game of blind man’s bluff. As we prepare to meet at this forum, we need to consider migration’s human faces, of course. But we have to always keep in mind that we can’t begin to put smiles on those faces until we first grapple with the data,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said ahead of the Forum.

Topics discussed included improving the production of migration data, global initiatives on migration, public opinion and migration, data innovation and big data and capacity building.

The Forum brought together experts and policy makers interested in migration measurement issues; explored innovative ways to measure population mobility across countries as well as economic and social immigrant integration; and helped create synergies between different actors and perspectives, with representatives from ‘origin’, ‘transit’ and ‘host’ countries of migrants.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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Corruption a scourge Africa can do without, says Economic Commission for Africa’s Biha

Corruption is a scourge that has to be combatted if Africa is to achieve the laudable goal of leaving no one behind as enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, says Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Deputy Executive Secretary, Giovani Biha.

Addressing the 31st Civil Society Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union and Member States on the theme: “Corruption and Governance: Impact and way out for Women, Children and Youths”, Ms. Biha said corruption is a vice that Africa can do without.

“In this fight we need to be cognizant of the differing impacts that corruption has on different population groups, including women and men, when formulating, implementing and monitoring anti-corruption initiatives,” she said.

Ms. Biha said increasing the participation of women in political and public life would also help in shaping gender-sensitive policies, adding civil society organizations, working closely with governments, also have a crucial advocacy role to play in this fight.

She commended GIMAC or the Gender is My Gender Campaign, for its important role in influencing the decisions and actions of the African Union to strengthen women’s rights and gender mainstreaming in the African continent.

She assured them the ECA would continue to support GIMAC’s endeavours.

Ms. Biha said the theme of this year’s consultation was both timely and important.

“Continued and widespread corruption is one of the main challenges expected to undermine the ability of African countries to achieve the sustainable development goals included in the 2030 Agenda,” she said.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agreed upon in 2015 commits the international community to leaving no-one behind. Target 5 of Goal 16 calls on member States to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.

Socio-cultural norms and institutional arrangements, said Ms. Biha, are key factors that shape the roles that males and females are expected to play in society, as well as their ability to access productive resources, accumulate marketable skills and participate in political and public life. As a result, she added, corruption impacts men and women differently.

Action

Ms. Biha said African governments should do more to combat corruption, in particular ratify the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption and domesticate its provisions in national legislation, plans, programmes and policies. Only 37 Member States have ratified the AU Convention.

Adequate organizational, human, technical and financial resources to anti-corruption institutions, she said, should be allocated to ensure that laws are effectively enforced.

“There’s also need to increase the participation of women in political and public life. As underscored by the Beijing Platform for Action, this is critical to place new items on the political agenda that reflect and address women’s gender-specific concerns,” Ms. Biha added.

She was supported by the African Union Commission’s Social Affairs Commissioner, Amira Eldadil, who told delegates there would be less corruption in the world if more women were allowed to participate in politics.

The African Union, she said, was doing all it could to help fight corruption on the continent and continues to advocate for gender sensitive policies in Member States.

Former Ireland President, Mary Robinson, now with Climate Justice, said women men were affected differently by climate change hence women hold valuable knowledge and experience to inform decisions on building resilience.

She said corruption is a scourge that should be fought with all the resources available as this would no doubt drastically improve the lives of women and youth the world over.

The 31st GIMAC is calling for the voice of women and young people to be considered by African leaders in the fight against corruption. Recommendations from the meeting will be forwarded to the AU leaders for discussion during their summit here in Addis Ababa this week.

The summit will be held under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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Concern grows for women and children fleeing Cameroon

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at a press briefing (19 January 2018) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva:

With the number of people fleeing English-speaking areas of Cameroon for Nigeria growing, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is increasingly concerned at the plight of women and children among them.

Women and children represent about 80 per cent of the approximately 10,000 refugees registered so far in eastern Nigeria’s Cross River state. Thousands more are among the population of unregistered Cameroonians in neighbouring states.

Some of these are boys and girls who fled to Nigeria alone. Unaccompanied and separated children are particularly affected by difficult access to food and the lack of subsistence opportunities.

UNHCR staff have received numerous reports that children have to work or beg to survive or to help their families. Many children are unable to attend school, as they lack both the time and funds for education. Although schooling in Nigeria is free, there are still some basic costs, such as those for school materials.

UNHCR is working with the Nigerian authorities to assist with the reunification of separated children with their families, to provide unaccompanied children with protection services and to restore the basic right of all children to education. Some children arriving to Nigeria reported to UNHCR that they had been out of school in Cameroon for the whole of the past academic year.

For women, the lack of work combined with the over-stretched reception facilities, creates a higher risk of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly from survival sex. So far, only a limited number of such cases have been recorded, mainly in the Amana community of Cross River state. However, UNHCR is concerned that many more incidents go unreported or are referred only to community elders. Incidents of domestic violence, as well as cases of teenage pregnancies involving girls as young as 14, have also been reported.

In Nigeria’s Benue state, where two school buildings have been reserved by authorities to serve as temporary refugee hosting accommodation, women and their families are forced to sleep inside communal school halls, deprived of private space and the right to family dignity. For them – and for the rest of the population living in temporary tents hastily built next to local residences – sufficient and appropriate shelter is key to ensure adequate registration, systematic aid distribution and reduced protection risks.

UNHCR is currently working with the Nigerian authorities to identify sites away from the border, where the refugees can be hosted according to international standards. We are also establishing offices in the towns of Calabar and Adikpo to better provide assistance and protection to the women and children. Our support includes food, basic relief items, health, and water and sanitation facilities.

UNHCR recognizes the enormous generosity of the Nigerian border communities, opening their doors to Cameroonian refugees. Almost all of those registered reported that they had left their homes because of insecurity and that they would go back only when it’s safe to do so.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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South Africa – Business Excellence to be Recognised and Rewarded at 5th Annual South African Premier Business Awards

Members of the media are invited to attend the awards ceremony of the fifth annual South African Premier Business Awards where South African business excellence will be recognised and rewarded. The ceremony will be hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African under the theme Rewarding Business Excellence:

Date: Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
Time: 18h30

Thirty companies will be vying for top honours in ten categories which include Black Industrialists Award, Manufacturer Award, Play Your Part Award, Proudly South African Member Company Award, SMME Award, Woman Owned Award and Young Entrepreneur Award. The awards are sponsored by Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, Wits Business School and Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies the awards recognise business excellence and celebrate enterprises that promote the spirit of success and innovation as well as job creation, good business ethics and quality.

Journalists who will be covering the event are requested to RSVP by Wednesday, 24 January 2018 to Charles Mnisi via email: CMnisi@thedti.gov.za or telephone on 012 394 1721/072 523 4886 or Ntombi Ntanzi on Ntombifuthn@brandsouthafrica.com or (011) 712-5071/O81 704 1488.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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