The Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) has said that The Gambia’s position to the unprecedented flow of migrants into Europe is that the European Union (EU) should enhance issuance of visas to students to make sure that people can migrate.
This, he said, is because migration has been in existence since time immemorial and that once they issue visas the problem of illegal migration will be curbed.
Honourable Abdou Jobe made these remarks during an interview with the Daily Observer after his return from the European Union Leaders and African Leaders Summit held in Malta.
The summit sought to find an agreement on a joint strategy to tackle the migration crisis.
Minister Jobe represented the President, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa at the summit.
The Ministers of Interior and Youth and Sports, Gambian Ambassadors in Belgium and Spain, Permanent Secretaries and other senior government officials accompanied the Trade Minister.
Minister Jobe informed the Daily Observer that the Valletta summit on migration brought together the European Union and African Heads of State and Government in an effort to strengthen cooperation and address the current challenges.
He pointed out that migration is a shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit and destination, thus EU and Africa will work in partnership to find common solutions to challenges of mutual interest.
The EU plans to offer increased aid to African countries in return for their help in stemming the unprecedented flow of migrants and refugees to Europe, including accelerated repatriation of those deemed to be economic migrants.
Minister Jobe said that a 17-page action plan was drafted to incorporate the issue of return and readmission, as well as travel documentation.
He said among the existing mechanisms, the Rabat Process, the Khartoum Process and the Joint EU-Africa strategy would be used to monitor the implementation of the action plan.
According to him, the leaders at the summit adopted a political declaration and an action plan designed to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement, enhance cooperation on legal migration and mobility. This also entails the protection of migrants and asylum seekers; and trafficking in human beings and work more closely to improve cooperation on return, readmission and reintegration.
In addition, the EU pledged about 1.8 billion Euros, which will be complemented by contributions of member countries, saying the countries that are identified to benefit will be provided with resources to create skills development and youth employment so that the youths can stay home and contribute to national development.
He described the summit as a give and take, noting that Africa should collectively work together because the EU position during the summit was based on “return and readmission” but the African leaders claimed that it has to be done in a very systematic way.
The Trade minister assured that the government of The Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh would continue to create conducive policies and environment in terms of employment creation, citing The Gambia Songhai Initiative, GAMJOBS and the Vision 2016 among others as examples. The continuity of such initiatives, he said, will be highly prioritised by government to create huge opportunities in the agricultural sector particularly for the youth.