PRETORIA, South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashahane is attending an African Union ministerial meeting beginning in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, on Tuesday to elaborate the African agenda on migration.

The meeting aims to harmonise the vision for an African agenda on migration, taking into consideration inclusiveness and responsibility-sharing, human rights; migration and development, as well as fighting irregular migration, according to a statement from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco).

The statement added that the ministerial conference would serve as an important platform and step of developing the draft African agenda on migration for submission to the AU Heads of State and government at their next summit.

The AU is engaged in various initiatives related to the management of migration, in particular, the development of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). A draft Common African Position has been endorsed at a ministerial level meeting for submission to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government at the end of January 2018.

South Africa regards this ministerial conference on migration as an important avenue for consolidating the Common African Position (CAP) on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the statement said.

Africa faces the serious challenges of poverty, unemployment, inequality and terrorism. These challenges have been seen as the push factor for some ambitious and resilient youth from the continent who are dying trying to cross the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea in search of greener pastures outside the continent.

More than 100,000 migrants, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, making dangerous trips across the Mediterranean to Europe every year have evolved into a humanitarian crisis in recent years.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, about 148,200 migrants and refugees have taken the Mediterranean routes to enter Europe in the first nine months of 2017, and 2,700 people reportedly died in the process. Many others were exposed to abuse, human trafficking and enslavement.

Recent film footage showing African migrants being auctioned off like slaves in Libya, a transit hub for Europe-bound migrants, has sent shock waves across Africa. As such, the AU has put issues around migration on top of their agenda.