EC and Malian cooperation to improve the management of migration

The Migration Information and Management Centre (CIGEM) was inaugurated on Octobre 6th, 2008 in Bamako, Mali, in the presence of Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Amadou Toumani Touré, the President of the Republic of Mali, and Brice Hortefeux, the French Minister for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Cooperative Development. The centre, which is financed by the EU as part of its development cooperation with Mali, is a pilot project that is to be copied in other West African countries.

The Migration Information and Management Centre (CIGEM) is the result of cooperation between the Government of Mali and the European Commission for the purpose of providing a response to the migration phenomenon. It aims to help Mali come up with a migration policy that addresses the concerns of potential migrants, returning migrants and Malians residing abroad. Mali and the European Commission are working together through this project to realise Africa-EU partnership commitments on migration, mobility and employment adopted at the EU-Africa Summit of December 2007.

The project is a pilot in that it is the first time the European Union has offered support to a country in sub-Saharan Africa for tackling and preventing the problems caused by legal and illegal migration in the shape of an initiative addressing the different aspects of the migration phenomenon. It is in the spirit of the EU-Africa Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment approved in Lisbon (December 2007) and follows on from the conferences on migration and development in Rabat (July 2006) and Tripoli (November 2006) and from the political dialogue under Article 13 of the Cotonou Agreement between Mali and the EU.

The establishment of the centre is financed under the 9th European Development Fund (€10 million). The aim is that the centre will become a fully fledged Malian institution (independent of Community funding) within the Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration.

Twenty-five people will be employed in the centre to provide reception, welcome, information, guidance and support facilities for potential and returning migrants (also with regard to employment and training opportunities in Mali and abroad). They will also carry out research into migration and promote the active role played by Malians living abroad in the development of Mali.

Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, has played a very active role in setting up the centre. "Instead of demonising the migration phenomenon, it should be supported, structured and managed optimally as a positive human element for both Africa and Europe. The centre paves the way for managing migration flows more effectively and making greater use of the development opportunities provided by migration," he said during the inauguration of the centre.