Today no one ignores that in the MENA region, countries’ education systems amongst others are undergoing difficult times. Here is a UN’s report review confirming whilst shedding some light on the goings-on.
Migrant and refugee children to face incredible hardships attending schools and accessing education, a new United Nations report released on Tuesday has revealed, highlighting also structural weaknesses in national systems that can sometimes exclude children on the move.
According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), factors such as non-certified schools, language different and limited resources are keeping refugee and migrant children away from learning and prospects for a better future.
“The right of these children to quality education, even if increasingly recognized on paper, is challenged daily in classrooms and schoolyards and denied outright by a few governments,” said the UN agency in a news release, announcing its new Global Education Monitoring Report.
Alongside this stark finding, the report did note some progress, especially in some of the largest refugee-hosting nations, in inclusion of refugee children in national education systems.
Champions include low income countries such as Chad, Ethiopia and Uganda, noted the report, adding that Canada and Ireland are leading in implementing inclusive education policies for immigrants.
Education ‘key to inclusion and cohesion’ – UNESCO Director-General
Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General or UNESCO, highlighted the importance of education to make communities stronger and more resilient.
Increased classroom diversity, while challenging for teachers, can also enhance respect for diversity and an opportunity to learn from others – UNESCO head Audrey Azoulay
“Everyone loses when the education of migrants and refugees is ignored. Education is the key to inclusion and cohesion. Increased classroom diversity, while challenging for teachers, can also enhance respect for diversity and an opportunity to learn from others.”
The 2019 edition of the report – which focuses on migration, displacement and education – also highlighted the need for additional resources for low- and middle-income countries, which host almost 90 per cent of refugees globally but lack funds to cope.
“Donors need to multiply their expenditure on refugee education by three and ensure long term support,” added UNESCO.
In addition, the report also called for better understanding and planning to meet the education needs of migrants and displaced people, as well as greater and accurate representation of migration and displacement histories in the curriculum to challenge prejudices.
Alongside, it also recommended that teachers of migrants and refugees be provided with better preparation to help address diversity and hardship.
Migration crisis in Africa; challenges, issues and perspectives
This contribution is a synthesis of my intervention following the invitation of the organizers of the provisional programme of the 2nd edition of the International Conference of African Organisations and all members of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), that is held at the ‘Centre International de Conférences Abdelatif Rahal’, Algiers on 19 to 21 November 2018, bringing together several African organizations and personalities. It will be concerning all migratory flows; responsibility of which being shared between the leaders of the north (recent flows into the USA) and between Europeans and Africains.
Africa a continent with significant potential
Some countries including Nigeria, Gabon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Libya specialize in oil, gas and raw materials and having experienced high demand and high prices in the world markets allowing them relative financial ease. Conversely, countries such as Benin, Malawi, Mauritius, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Togo, Mali, which are penalized in products that often experience deterioration in terms of trade, misery, famine and often internal conflicts and where the military expenditure budget in Africa is beyond human understanding to the detriment of the allocation of resources for development purposes.
The ten richest African countries in decreasing order are for the current GDP in 2017:
Nigeria with $581 billion,
South Africa with $276 billion,
Egypt with $264 billion,
Algeria with $170 billion,
Sudan with $124 billion,
Morocco with $121 billion,
Angola with $104 billion,
Ethiopia with $93 billion,
Kenya with $77 billion and
Tanzania with $52 billion.
On the other hand, the poorest countries are in decreasing order:
Burundi with a GDP per capita at $285,
Malawi with a GDP per capita of about $300,
Niger with a GDP per capita of about $364,
Mozambique with a GDP per capita of $382,
The Central African Republic, GDP per capita slightly higher than $382,
Madagascar, GDP per capita is about $401,
Somalia with a GDP per capita about $434,
Democratic Republic of the Congo with a GDP of about $444 per capita,
Liberia, with per capita GDP at about $455 and
Gambia with a GDP per capita at slightly higher than $473.
Security and stability of States must be based on democratic values
However, beware, we must be wary of the global GDP that veils the interprofessional (concentration of income) and interregional disparities, as for any comparisons only similar methods of calculation should be used. An example in 2014, The African continent was learning with amazement that, following a statistical review, Nigeria became the first African economy (ahead of South Africa) with a revalued GDP of $510 billion in 2013, compared to $262 billion in 2012. The GDP of South Africa was about $384 billion that same year. The magnitude of this re-evaluation of Nigeria’s GDP Following a statistical review is not an isolated case in Africa. However, these indicators are not enough to understand the situation in Africa. Also, in order to analyse blockages in Africa, the economic factors of political factors cannot be isolated. The joint African Development Bank – Global Financial Integrity (ADB – GFI) report highlights the fact that Africa has suffered from net outflows of the order and that the flight of resources out of Africa over the last thirty years – the equivalent of Africa’s current GDP – is curbing the launch of the continent. Thus, African leaders bear a heavy responsibility to their people and must promote the rule of law, good governance, therefore, the fight against corruption and tribal mentalities, the protection of human rights and the commitment resolutely in the overall reform, thus the democratisation of their society considering cultural anthropology avoiding the unconnected patterns of social realities. So is essential raises the problem of the security and stability of States which must be based on democratic values. In the region, we have seen profound changes in the Saharan geopolitics after the collapse of the Libyan regime, with consequences for the region. Also, the importance of the weight of the informal in Africa produces crippling bureaucracy, promotes corruption, varying by country, but generally exceeding 50% to 60% of the economic surface. For some countries, this sphere employs more than 70% of the workforce. According to the International Labor Office (ILO), this sector provides 72% of jobs in sub-Saharan Africa, of which 93% of new jobs are created, compared with the formal sector, which employs only about 10% of jobs on the continent. In the Maghreb per our study carried out for the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), Paris – December 2013, the informal sphere in the Maghreb, it exceeds 50% of the economic area and employs more than 30% of the working population. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing with the income gap reinforcing the inequities in wealth, education, health and social mobility. A Large and young population is not a handicap for a country, provided that this population is active and that it works in the formal sector so that its work can benefit the dependent population, the very young and the very old. Sadly though, 75% of the sub-Saharan economy is informal, and the education sectors in these countries are now affected, and the young people who come out poorly trained.
Globalisation and migratory flows
Immigration is now the entry, in each country or geographical area, of foreign persons who come for an extended stay or to settle there. The word immigration comes from the Latin in-Migrate meaning “to enter a place”. On the margins of this phenomenon is the dual nationality and nomadism, the notion of immigrant is based on the declarations of the place of birth and nationality.
The emigrant is the person who left his place in a country for another place in another, in order to settle there temporarily or permanently. A human migration being a displacement of individuals is probably as old a phenomenon as humankind. It is increasing in numbers by 2% per annum and measures stocks that include voluntary migration and forced migration. Internal migration to countries is also on the increase, but it is more about population displacement. Statistics show that huge migratory waves have recently declined, in favour of a trend towards immigration more related to brain drain and skills from developing countries, to the detriment of the latter. The characteristics of the current African migratory phenomenon are the diversification of the countries of provenance and destination, as well as the forms are taken by migration. It is estimated that the return of capital or remittances to the countries of origin from the host countries is at least equal if it is not much higher than the amount of financial assistance provided by the so-called “rich” countries to the poorer countries. If today most migrants move through regular channels, the migratory phenomenon is marked by a rise in the power of forced migration, mainly caused by conflicts and climate change. According to the most optimistic predictions, emanating from many institutions of the United Nations in charge of migration issues, by 2050, the number of displaced persons could jump to a minimum of 6 million/year. The cause being climatic disturbances, extreme weather phenomena, declining water supplies, desertification, rising sea level and degradation of farmland. According to international experts, it can also have several causes:
Economic: The search for a job, greater prosperity, better working conditions. This is the primary cause of current emigration;
Politics: The escape of an oppressive regime;
Religious: The hope of a more tolerant land of welcome;
Climate change: The taste for a different weather environment (generally milder, warmer and sunnier) and,
Fiscal: The will to be in a more favourable legal and financial context. This phenomenon plays particularly for the highest strata of society and in favour of tax havens.
In the era of globalisation where migratory flows are a concrete reality, migration has been globalised, with the same outcome of urbanisation and metropolisation of the world, demographic pressure, unemployment, information, and transnationalisation of migratory networks. The categories of migrants and countries have become more complex, with the globalisation of migration being accompanied by regionalisation of migratory flows. On a global scale, migration is geographically organised where complementarities are built between departure and reception areas. These correspond to geographical proximity, historical, linguistic and cultural links, transnational networks built by migrants, and smugglers (a form of slavery) that form a formal or informal space of movement, accompanied or not by institutional facilities of passage. Migrations have more than tripled since the mid-years 1970: 77 million in 1975, 120 million in 1999, 150 million in early 2000, near 300 million in 2017. This translates the mobility factors for different reasons. Gaps between levels of human development, political and environmental crises, producers of refugees and displaced persons, reduced transport costs, a generalisation of passport issuance, the role of the media, awareness that one can change the course of his life through international migration.
Global warming, whose responsibility lies mainly with the rich countries and some emerging countries, that could strike the brunt of Africa within 2025/2030/2040, will accentuate the exodus of its populations. These different factors accentuate the bi-polarisation of three worlds, the rich countries, the emerging countries, and the developing countries pushing them to this exodus.
The demographers consider that migration will be an essential adjustment variable by 2050, due to which 2 or 3 billion of additional individuals are expected on the planet, while the effects of climate change will probably be if not already felt and that some areas will no longer be able to feed any additional populations
Global chief executive of RICS, Sean Tompkins, calls on governments in the Middle East to find better ways of stimulating collaboration in the construction sector – for the good of all parties and for the future of the profession.
“We have a construction industry globally that is really set up to argue and fight during the process of projects, and that comes right at the point of procurement – how projects are initiated, how they are procured and set up,” Tompkins tells Construction Week.
RICS aims to encourage governments to “find ways to improve collaboration” in the industry, which could help to “improve the construction cost overall and reduce the time it takes to deliver on projects”, Tompkins says.
“One thing we have been looking at, which is really important, is that when there is a dispute, how do you make sure that it is not just wrapped up in the courts for years? This may be halting progress and may not be providing an important piece of infrastructure.”
He continues: “There are alternative ways that you can set these things up, [such as by using] alternative conflict avoidance mechanisms. At RICS, we would really argue that these types of things need to be looked at and embraced within contracts in order to create greater collaboration going forwards.”
RICS is one of the oldest built-environment professional institutions in the world and was formed in the UK 150 years ago. It has launched an industry-wide consultation called Future of the Profession, which explores how the industry can adapt to the disruptions that society will face as a result of rampant urbanisation and technological change. The consultation ended in October and Tompkins hopes it will “provide a real blueprint for the changes that need to take place in this industry”.
The world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and close to two-thirds of people are expected to live in cities by that time. Tompkins describes this as “an unprecedented pace that will hit every city in the world”.
He says “most cities are struggling to cope” with this rate of change in terms of infrastructure, housing, and social cohesion.
“That is the big element of change, and what is happening in the construction industry is that for many, many years, our existing business models have struggled to keep up with the current pace, and here is a requirement for a pace way faster than anything we have ever considered. This is where the challenges are going to come from,” he explains.
“This is where technology [such as] big data [and] artificial intelligence […] will come into the industry as a way of improving and projecting that pace at a much quicker rate. We have to be ready for that and seize it before other people with other business models do.”
While Tompkins admits meeting the demands for infrastructure and housing “will require money”, there are other ways in which RICS claims it will be able to help future-proof the construction sector: “What the world looks for are areas with great transparency, high standards, good ethical behaviour, and professions that you can trust – and that is what we stand for.
“On that level, providing those standards, providing people with competencies, is something that we are supplying to the world in order to deal with these challenges.”
Tompkins says he would like to see “different leadership” in construction that embraces innovation to ensure that the sector is prepared for the biggest challenges currently facing the industry.
The Future of the Profession consultation by RICS is only the first step on an uncertain and challenging road, Tompkins says. Nonetheless, it is one that the industry will need to take note of, if it is to be equipped with the tools and technical expertise necessary to meet future urbanisation head on.
Per GOVERNMENT EUROPAposted last June, “Funding for border security, management and migration will increase from a total of €13bn over the period 2014-2020, to €34.9bn over the next budgetary period, from 2021-2027. The increase in funding reflects the need to respond to the growing challenges of irregular migration, security and mobility.”
The EU spending more on border and migration control should not come as a surprise. The migrant crisis which began with the unrests of individual countries of the MENA region, carried on for some time as this constant flow of the Mediterranean Sea crossings towards the northern shores seem to defy everything, and all indicators showed that this is not ending any day soon.
Guinea’s President Alpha Conde (R), President-in-Office of the African Union (AU), speaks with Donald Tusk (L), the President of the European Council, during a joint news conference after the closing session of the 5th African Union – European Union (AU-EU) summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 30 November 2017. [Legnan Koula/EPA/EFE]
The European Commission’s proposal to bolster Europe’s borders would mean that for the first time the EU will spend more on migration control than on developing Africa, as the determination to ‘fortify’ the Continent prevails among national governments and institutions.
This stance breaks with Europe’s traditional approach, in which the Union was proud to be seen as the world’s largest donor to developing nations.
The Commission says that the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, would increase funds for Sub-Saharan Africa by 23%, from €26.1 billion to €32 billion.
However, these figures (in current prices) varied significantly when constant prices are used.
As Commission officials confirmed to EURACTIV, the amount in 2018 prices (hence taking into account inflation) is estimated at €26.6bn for the 2014-2020 period.
The figure for the period 2021-2027 in 2018 prices for Sub-Saharan Africa would be €28.3 billion. This amount would represent an additional 7% compared to the previous MFF in real terms.
But this increase would be minimal compared to the extra support given to migration and border management.
The Commission wants to allocate €30.83 billion for these priorities for the next seven-year period, also in 2018 prices.
This represents around €2.5 billion more than the funds earmarked for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The bulk of the money (€18.8 billion) would be dedicated to border management. This would represent almost a 200% increase compared to the previous seven year budget, when €5.6 billion was allocated.
Almost half of this amount (€10.58 billion) would be dedicated to supporting decentralized agencies, especially the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA).
The Commission wants to increase the personnel of EBCGA to 10,000 border guards and officials.
A total of €9.97 billion also under this envelope would go to migration management, in particular to support member states through the Asylum and Migration Fund.
Part of this envelope would be for asylum, legal migration and integration. But at least half of these funds could end up dedicated to countering irregular migration, to execute returns and support member states with additional resources to protect their borders in case of emergency situations.
The EU has other instruments to support Africa: the Africa Trust Fund and part of its External Investment Plan.
Most of the EU funds (around €3.5 billion) to support the trust fund come from budget lines already included in the African envelope, in particular the European Development Fund (EDF).
In addition, member states and other donors (including Switzerland and Norway) pledged €439 million, and €393 million had been paid so far.
As regards to the Investment plan for Africa, the Commission contributed €4.4 billion, also financed through instruments such as the EDF and the relevant parts of the Development Cooperation Instrument, already included in the funds for Africa.
Under the ‘Juncker plan’ for Africa, the EU aims to mobilise around €44 billion in investment through financial engineering (guarantees and blending), mostly coming from the private sector.
The EU allocated €22 billion for its Neighbourhood area for 2021-2027, which includes Eastern countries and the Southern Mediterranean region.
However, the allocation of funds per country and priorities would come during the programming phase, once the regulation has been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the Commission explained.
The Commission’s MFF proposal will be discussed in the coming months by the Parliament and member states.
The extra money has been allocated to bolster EU’s external borders despite the number of arrivals to Europe having decreased by around 80% this year, compared to 2017.
But a growing group of countries want to shield the Union, including the Visegrad group (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia), the new Italian government and Austria.
This represents a stark contrast with 2015, when the news of the deadliest modern shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea that killed about 800 migrants, and the image of a drowned Syrian boy on the Turkish coast triggered a wave of solidarity in Europe with the newcomers.
That year, the number of arrivals by sea registered the record number of 1,015,078, according to the UNHCR.
Some senior EU officials insist that more resources should be allocated for Africa.
European Parliament president, Antonio Tajani, said that the “primary duty of Europe” should be to combat the root causes of the migration flows, including the instability and insecurity in large parts of Africa, and the poverty, famine and climate change in the continent.
By 2050, the population of Africa is set to double to more than 2.5 billion. Tajani warned that if Europe does not act, the arrivals we see today would turn into millions.
“We will see biblical movements of people from the South to the North”, he told reporters in early July, on the occasion of Austria’s takeover of the rotating presidency of the EU.
Noting the Investment plan for Africa and the African Trust Fund, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said during the same press conference that it was “not a correct picture of what it is being done when people said we are doing nothing for Africa”.
Speaking alongside the two presidents, Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced a “paradigm shift” in tackling the migration issue during his semester at the EU’s helm. His top priority will be securing EU’s external borders.
Kurz, leader of Austria’s Popular Party, illustrates how mainstream parties in Europe have toughened their stance toward migration in recent months.
Following his victory in elections last October, he formed a government with the extreme-right Freedom Party.
WAM, the Emirates News Agency posted this article April 8th, 2018 about the UAE with the second-largest Arab economy, is leading the Arab world in attracting Foreign Direct Investment, (FDI). It is known that Dubai leads Arab start-ups but the recent Saudi Arabian reforms being engaged in the non-oil local activities may possibly alter that.
In the meantime, the UAE bankruptcy laws and company possible total foreign ownership are no longer hampering but rather allow total foreign contribution to the sought after investment in the local economy.
In 2016, the UAE attracted 29 percent of the total FDI inflow in the Arab world, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, told the media ahead of the Annual Investment Meeting, AIM, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 9th to 11th, 2018, under the theme, “Partnerships for Total Growth and Sustainable Development.”
The FDI inflow to the UAE reached AED37.8 billion (US$10.3 billion) in 2017, according to the UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, FCSA, up from AED35.23 billion ($9.6 billion) recorded in 2016. This raised the total FDI stock of the country to AED473.500 billion ($128.94 billion) in 2017.
“We also topped Arab countries in terms of attracting new foreign investment projects, as we attracted 4,492 foreign investment projects in the UAE, out of a total of 12,192 new investment projects in the Arab countries from 2003 to 2016, reflecting the competitiveness of the national economy at the state level in creating efficient business,” he added.
The country is also working on luring quality investments that serve its development objectives and provide additional value to the national economy.
“FDI plays a crucial role in strengthening economic growth and raising the efficiency of national economies, and the UAE is constantly adapting the best policies and economic trends to keep pace with changes in the nature and trends of foreign investments to consolidate its position as a global destination for business and finance.
“According to preliminary data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, global FDI flows are forecast to decline by 16 percent in 2017, from $1.81 trillion in 2016 to $1.52 trillion in 2017,” he said.
However, FDI inflows to developing economies are expected to stabilise in 2017, reaching about $653 billion, an increase of 2 percent over 2016.
“This indicates the need for countries, including the UAE, to continue their efforts to attract more investments in those sectors that add value, and to develop the appropriate policies and frameworks to make the best use of the presence of FDI to serve their development objectives,” he added.
Speaking about the Annual Investment Meeting, he said, “It is a collaborative platform for linking advanced and emerging markets and exploring potential partnership opportunities and will address obstacles facing acceleration of FDI inflow. It will also seek to explore promising investment opportunities in vital sectors, including energy, mining, manufacturing, infrastructure, logistics, agriculture, tourism and ICT.”
WAM/Elsadig Idriss/MOHD AAMIR
Out of all the MENA countries, the GCC migrant domestic workers, mainly in the UAE and Qatar where together with their outdoor counterpart such as drivers and / or other domestic helpers form almost the majority of all expatriate workers. Elsewhere in the GCC, the situation though practically similar, would be less acute in terms of numbers. Since the advent of oil & gas and all related boom years, this situation has decanted down from the countries leaders, generalising to most settled populations as some sort of consensual culture.
Policies of Saudisation, Emiritisation and Qatarisation, to name but a few, are on-going operations that are meant to mitigate the above and are relatively successful in their discrete implementation. If that is not enough, legislation and other administration’s rules and regulations covering all aspects of life that were supplemented by the recent introduction of various taxation and annulation of certain state subsidies are in turn affecting the flow of immigration. This has always been subjected to what is called the “Kafala” or a sponsorship of an employer system.
GCC countries have however made notable progress in recent years but despite that, abuse has still been noted here and there, through sad and very hyped up events. Meanwhile, the GCC’s dependence generally, on expatriate workforce is reckoned by most to continue in the near future because mainly of the enduring rentier economy’s related life style coupled with the not diminishing shortage of professionally and technically qualified local workers.
An (International Labour Organization) ILO’s Domestic Work White Paper Press release | 08 March 2018 outlines policy recommendations to reform the migrant domestic work sector and establish a professionalized and high-quality care economy in the region.
The domestic work sector makes a vital economic and social contribution to the Arab States region, with domestic workers supporting the care of children during critical stages of development, supporting the elderly to live with dignity, and relieving nationals of their domestic and care responsibilities, enabling greater female labour force participation. Migrant workers form the majority of workers in this sector in the Arab States – with the region hosting 3.16 million migrant domestic workers .
Important progress has been made over the last few years by a number of countries in the region towards legislative change to better regulate the sector. Weak enforcement, however, means that the sector is susceptible to a high turnover of workers and poor efficiency in job matching and job placement, and is characterized by informality and large numbers of workers in an irregular situation. Poor regulation of the international recruitment industry (including illegal charging of fees and related costs to workers), coupled with restrictions under the kafala sponsorship system, leave workers and employers unsatisfied with the current sector model.
“Employers’ and domestic workers’ needs are not necessarily in conflict,” said Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States. “Rather both parties call for transparency in the recruitment process, amendments and clarifications on the conditions of sponsorship, better quality skills development and job matching, and streamlined systems of dispute resolution.”
“Employers and workers can become allies in calling for reform to the sector,” Jaradat said.
As demographics and household structures transform in the region, the White Paper recommends that governments of the Arab States work towards establishing a professionalized and quality care economy , of which domestic work and the labour of migrant workers forms an essential part. A vibrant, strong and resilient care economy should take into account the needs and preferences of employers, ensure high quality care and services, and guarantee decent working conditions (for both nationals and migrant workers).
The paper presents a number of innovative practices from around the world.
“To find a way to balance employers’ right to privacy, with the need to assess working conditions, new models of labour inspection can be introduced,” said Sophia Kagan, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO’s FAIRWAY project , citing one example.
“Information and awareness raising sessions and campaigns can be implemented for both workers and employers. Campaigns targeting employers must incorporate behaviour change messages to help shift practices that have been cemented over generations,” Kagan continued.
Finally, the report points to the importance of social dialogue which can be achieved through the creation and support of organizations that represent the interests of both parties.
The ILO’s work includes supporting governments in the region to develop and implement new thinking that can ensure a productive domestic work sector to the benefit of all – workers, employers and society.