IOM Signs New Cooperation Agreement with Ethiopia
GENEVA, Switzerland, January 30, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM yesterday (29/1) signed a new cooperation agreement with Ethiopia to work together on migration issues with a view to promoting economic and social development.
The agreement, which was signed in Addis Ababa by IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and Ethiopian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dewano Kedir, follows an earlier 1996 agreement to implement IOM's Return of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN) project. RQAN was designed to reverse the impact of brain drain in developing African countries like Ethiopia.
Twenty years later, IOM's activities in Ethiopia have mushroomed. They now include the provision of emergency and livelihood assistance to internally displaced people and refugees, diaspora engagement, provision of health assistance to migrants, reintegration assistance for voluntary returnees from abroad, counter trafficking, refugee resettlement, and repatriation assistance.
IOM Addis Ababa also serves as the liaison office with the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
Speaking at the signing, IOM Director General Swing highlighted IOM's work with the Ethiopian diaspora as an important new area of engagement. He noted that the Ethiopian diaspora was a major IOM partner in providing assistance to the recent influx of Ethiopian returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Ambassador Kedir highlighted the close cooperation between IOM and the government and thanked IOM for its support on a range of migration issues. Referring to the 170,000 returnees from Saudi Arabia, he said: “IOM saved thousands of Ethiopian lives and that is something we want to thank you for.”