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08.09.2004 General News

Conference on migration and devt opens next week

By GNA

Accra, Sept. 8, GNA - President John Kufuor is to open an international conference on migration and development which aims at addressing the many challenges of migration.

The meeting, to take place from September 14 to September 16 in Accra, also aims at ensuring that migration was mutually beneficial to the countries of origin as well as the recipient one.

About 150 policymakers, academics, representatives of civil society organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies from Ghana and the international community are expected at the meeting.

At a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr Alfred Fawundu said the hope of a better life and the administrative and legal difficulties faced by migrants forced them to undertake perilous journeys in an attempt to succeed in illegal migration.

On the number of illegal migrants, who perish each year trying to reach other countries and the issue of the trafficking of women and children to engage in sex work, Mr Fawundu said policies had an important role to play in matters affecting such people.

He said both governments and multilateral agencies had been interested in exploring the potential of skilled migrants, who had returned home in addressing the human capital needs as well as investment issues.

He touched on the brain drain phenomenon in the health and educational sectors and said it had a lot of economic, social and cultural implications for Ghanaians as well as for the societies of settlement.

Mr Fawundu said the remittances that migrants sent home had become an important source of direct private transfer and major source of foreign exchange for Ghana.

The conference would address issues related to migration and development within the economic and social context and deal with the policy implications for the country.

The meeting is being organised by the UNDP, the Netherlands Embassy and the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon.

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