The Global Human Development Report, Overcoming Barriers: Human
Mobility and Development was launched in the Gambia on 9th December,
2009 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel by Her Excellency, Ajaratou Dr.
Isatou Njie Saidy, Vice President of the Republic of the Gambia
and Minister of Women’s Affairs. This year’s Human Development
Report looked at how better migration policies can enhance human
It lays out the case for government to reduce restrictions across
their boarders for both internal and external migration, and argues
for ease of movement for migrants, since migration can bring large
benefits for both destination and origin countries.
The Vice President of the Gambia said that in terms of economic
growth, The Gambia was able to stay within the safe level of the
region’s average despite the current global economic crisis.
“An important source of our growth and poverty reduction is
the relatively large volume of remittances from Gambians in the
These remittances accounted for up to 10% of per capita consumption
in 2006 although in the wake of the global crisis, this has dropped
to about 6% in 2008,” she said.
The report further highlights that remittances represent 3.7 percent
of Gross Domestic Product for sub-Saharan Africa. This confirms
the benefits of migration to the Africa region.
Even though there are gains to migration, “there are downsides
too for developing countries where skilled professions such as nurses,
doctors, engineers etc. leave our part of the world and are absorbed
by developed countries .This trend warrants a closer study and collaborative
venture to create the best condition for the retention of the scare
skilled labour. Sub-Saharan Africa is hard hit, having one of highest
tertiary migration rates from as low as 34% for Ghana to 54% for
Mozambique” the Vice President further said.
Ms. Chinwe Dike, the UN Resident Coordinator and the UNDP Resident
Representative, in her statement said that “Migration is a
complex process and involves trade-offs for migrants, as well as
for source and destination communities.
The cost of moving are especially heavy for the poorest and can
reduce their net gain. Most migrants are faced with problems such
as legal status, resources and capabilities, and the ability to
integrate into their destination communities. They have less freedom
of movement and when in contact with the authorities are always
treated badly and inhumanely”. She further said that the report
therefore proposes a core package of reforms based on the following
six pillars, which are all relevant in several aspects for Sub-Saharan
1. “Liberalizing and simplifying regular channels that allows
people to seek work abroad;
2. Ensure basic rights for migrants;
3. Reducing transaction costs associated with migration;
4. Improving outcomes for migrants and destination communities;
5. Enabling benefits from internal mobility; and
6. Making mobility an integral part of national and development
The Minister of The Interior, Honourable Ousman Sonko, on behalf
of the government of The Gambia, gave an insight on how the government
of The Gambia has undertaken several initiatives in the area of
institutional strengthening, capacity development, entrepreneurial
and technical skills training for Gambian youths who are the targets
and victims of illegal migration.
“The logistical support received on behalf of the security
services have gone a long way to helping government monitor the
trends and address issues of irregular migration as evidenced by
the significant drop in the incidents of reported cases,”
The launch of the global Human Development Report in The Gambia
once more reminds governments to address one of the most pressing
issues that sub-Saharan Africa is facing today: migration.
As the Vice President said, the launch presented an opportunity
for all of us to deepen our reflection around salient economic and
social problems associated with current development challenges.
Present at the occasion were several cabinet ministers, senior government
officials, members of the diplomatic community, civic society organisations,
the media, representatives from academia and colleagues from the