Migration and Development in Africa (MIDA)

The concept of MIDA - Migration for Development in Africa  - was developed by IOM at the end of the 1990s.

Numerous regions of the African continent currently suffer from a lack of qualified human resources, due in large part to the massive departure of university-level educated individuals. Political instability, armed conflicts, unemployment and bad governance also create incentives to immigrate toward countries reputed to be less hostile.  For a number of African countries, this “brain drain” constitutes an obstacle to sustainable development. This is particularly the case where the lack of qualified personnel affects priority sectors such as education, health, rural development, or the economic fabric of employment generators. If “brain drain” is but one of the numerous factors that contributes to the under-development of certain regions in Africa, it constitutes an important element that must be taken into account in designing policy that favors and benefits the potential of these migrants. 

The Libreville workshop, or the birth of the MIDA concept

In 1983 IOM launched a program of return and reintegration of qualified African nationals (RQAN). Through this program, more than 2000 highly qualified and experienced African nationals received return and reintegration assistance in 41 African countries. 

At the end of the 1990s, the management of migratory movements and the relationship between migration and development were the focus of a growing number of debates on the international scene. The Accord of Cotonou, signed on June 23, 2000, after the expiration of the Convention of Lomé, marked the renewal of the cooperation between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP).  From the outset, the Accord of Cotonou was concerned with the issues of migration and development, notably demonstrated in article 13.

It is within this context, and with the goal of promoting a mechanism to support migration for development in Africa, that the IOM and Gabon organized in Libreville of April 2001, a workshop that united more than one hundred delegates from twenty African countries. The workshop united various ministers, the private sector, Diaspora organizations, the African Union, the European Union, and the Economic Commission for Africa of the United Nations. After three days of work, the participants concluded that it was necessary to develop strategies and methods to reinforce the institutional capacities of African Diaspora communities to contribute to their countries of origin.

The recommendations of the Libreville workshop were adopted in July of 2001 by African heads of state at the Summit of the Organization of African Unity at Lusaka (resolution 614). This consultation process enabled IOM to establish the foundation of a new program, entitled “Migration for Development in Africa,” or MIDA. 

MIDA is a capacity-building program to develop potential synergies between the profiles of African migrants and country needs.  It supports the transfer of competencies and resources (intellectual and financial) of the African Diaspora to benefit countries of origin. The professional competencies, new ideas and know-how acquired abroad by migrants represents an enormous development potential for their countries of origin.  Migrants carry new visions and innovative capacities for change. The mobilization of people and resources results in temporary return, long-term or virtual, and always voluntary. Whatever option is chosen, the program does not intend to create any prejudice related to the legal status of migrants in their country of residence or in their newly adopted places of residence. 

For more information, contact Ms. Coryse Lehembre (email: clehembre@iom.int, tel: + 32 (0) 2 287 75 15).