Tuesday, 02 February 2016 11:53

AU Pledges Action on Migration, Child Marriages

1 February 2016 - The African Union (AU) reiterated its commitment to stop illegal migration of African youth to developed nations alongside child marriages noting that they are a blot to the continent's image.

Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, said at a press briefing on Friday that the continental body has focused on innovative measures to contain illegal migration and eradicate child marriages.

"The migration crisis in Africa has reached alarming proportions. Our youth are risking lives to enter Europe in the belief that there are more opportunities there," Kaloko told reporters on the sidelines of the AU summit in Addis Ababa.

He regretted that an exodus of African youth will undermine the continent's quest for sustainable development.

The African Union has prioritised speedy implementation of social and economic empowerment programmes targeting the youth in order to halt illegal migration.

Kaloko said that creation of new industries, reforms in the education sector and regional integration are key to minimise exodus of young people to foreign lands.

"We have embarked on the implementation of programmes that lift the living standards of our population to discourage migration. Industrialisation in the continent will create jobs for the youth," Kaloko remarked.

He emphasised that intra-African movement of labour will offer durable solution to the migration crisis facing the continent.

“African Countries should ease movement of skilled personnel through policy and regulatory reforms," said the commissioner, adding that regional integration and political stability are crucial to stem the exodus of young Africans.

AU has also lobbied member states to enact legislation that ban child marriages. Kaloko stressed that Africa's socio-economic progress hinges on commitment to abolish practices that violate the rights of children, women and youth.

Meanwhile, AU has fast-tracked the establishment of an African Centre for Disease Control (ACDC) with support from bilateral allies like China.

Kaloko disclosed that technical experts have been holding meetings to discuss modalities of setting up the continental disease control centre.

"A specialised technical committee met in November last year and it was agreed a coordination centre will be set up at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. We are now in the process of equipping the centre", he said, revealing that four regional collaboration centres are already in place while a governing board composed of African health ministers will be inaugurated soon.

By The New Times (Kigali) & Agencies
Source: AllAfrica.com

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