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Southern African countries must embrace migrant contributions - ADF

The forum led a three-day meeting with civic organisations from the Southern African Development Community region to launch the Southern Africa Migration Network.

Delegates at the launch of the Southern Africa Migration Network on 19 May 2019. Picture: Nthakoana Ngatane/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African Diaspora Forum urged Southern African countries on Sunday to embrace the contributions of migrants who formed a quarter of the population on the continent.

The forum led a three-day meeting with civic organisations from the Southern African Development Community region to launch the Southern Africa Migration Network.

The conference found that South Africa was not the only country that had negative perceptions of migrants.

The network said it planned to promote unity on the continent.

The forum highlighted that South Africans were also seeking opportunities in other countries on the continent just like other African migrants who came to South Africa.

Malawi Development Forum’s Bright Kampaundi said: “…And you may be surprised to learn that South Africa was the top country, about 19.2% of all the visas were issued to South Africans to come to Malawi.

Africa Diaspora Forum chair Vusimusi Sibanda said this meeting has revealed that African migrants were ill-treated in other countries and the network helped countries share experiences.

“…We know that South Africa has ratified a number of instruments, but I think the migrant labour part is one of those instruments that need to be ratified. But I have to hasten to say that when we compare the laws that we have, South Africa came out much better than a lot of these countries.”

The network intended to engage regional governments to enact migrant friendly laws and to deal with sources of conflict that resulted in the high number of asylum seekers.

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