By Momodou Jawo
The European Union, the International Organisation for Migration and the Ministry of the Interior over the weakened signed the agreement to implement the project, “EU trust Fund-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
The three-year project is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). The project according to official sources is aimed at supporting 1,500 migrants to The Gambia to reintegrate into their communities of origin and to contribute to the strengthening of the government of The Gambia’s capacity to provide sustainable reintegration support, including specialised assistance for vulnerable migrants.
Speaking at the signing ceremony the Interior Minister Mai Fatty assured the continued commitment of the government of The Gambia and his ministry in making sure that the project work as designed.
“The political will is there and that is why we as government take this very serious. We have thousands of our citizens in Europe whose future is not promising,” he noted
Minister Fatty added: “These people belong to this country and we must work hard and grow our economy and build a society that will encourage our young people to stay, by providing infrastructure, education and job opportunities for them”.
The government, he went on, will work within the current draft that is being validated, adding that they want to see the number decline and to see opportunities up again.
The EU Ambassador to The Gambia Attila Lajos said the focus of the project will be on the well-being and personal development of migrants, in full respect of their rights, saying that all activities implemented by the project will take into account the specificities of vulnerable migrants to adapt the response to the specific protection needs.
The IOM Chief Mission in The Gambia Fumiko Nagano said irregular migration, especially by the youth, continues to pose significant challenges for The Gambia. She stated that it is precisely these challenges that this EUTF-IOM Joint Initiative aims to address, to ensure that migrants are respected, that returning migrants are able to contribute positively to their communities, and that the migration process becomes safer and better managed.