IOM’s Deputy Director General Laura Thompson held several bilateral meetings with senior officials of the Government of Egypt during her visit to Cairo (24-27 July) where she opened the Extraordinary Meeting for the Arab Regional Consultative Process on Migration (ARCP).
Ambassador Thompson met bilaterally with Mohamed Saafan, Minister of Manpower; Nabila Abdel Shahid, Minister of State for Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates’ Affairs; Hisham Badr, Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral and International Security Affairs and Naela Gabr, Chairperson of the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons. In these meetings, Ambassador Thompson reiterated IOM’s support to the Government of Egypt to enhance migration governance, address irregular migration and promote mobility of Egyptian citizens.
During the meeting with Nadia Abdu, the Governor of Behaira, Ambassador Thompson stressed the need to strengthen the cooperation with government authorities at the local level in order to address irregular migration while protecting and assisting vulnerable migrants.
Initiatives to create tailored response mechanisms for vulnerable migrants and to establish vocational training centres to build the capacity of job seekers through internationally accredited curricula were discussed during the meeting.
To this end, Ambassador Thompson also referred to the Action Plan on Institutional Strengthening in the Area of Labour Migration endorsed by the Ministry of Manpower. In line with this action plan, IOM developed a regional project that will contribute to the development and implementation of labour migration policies focusing on ethical recruitment in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen.
The importance of migration governance for Egypt and the region was also highlighted during Ambassador Thompson’s opening speech at the Extraordinary Meeting for the ARCP. With more than 26 million Arab migrants living outside their country of origin, including within the Arab region, “migration is not only a livelihood strategy for many, but also a potentially powerful driver of development and economic growth through remittance flows and skills transfer,” she said.