The East African Community (EAC) is keen on improving governance on migration, addressing challenges associated with contemporary migration, and strengthening the contribution of migrants to the six-member bloc’s development, officials say ahead of a related meeting in Kigali. Regional ministers in charge of EAC affairs, those of Internal Affairs, officers from labour departments and directorates of Immigration from Partner States, the EAC Secretariat, International Organization for Migration (IOM) as well as other UN agencies are set to meet in Kigali from Monday, February 14, to establish a Regional Consultative Process on Migration (RCP) in the region. According to the EAC Secretariat, the three-day meeting will provide a framework for Partner States to have an informal and non-binding dialogue on migration and governance issues in the region for the very first time. The objective of the RCP is to help Partner States move away from a securitized approach to migration to broaden understanding of migration by appreciating that migrants and increased mobility in East Africa can contribute to national development, reducing poverty and lowering the unemployment rate among the youth, and other benefits, reads a related EAC statement. EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki has said that the proposed RCP would benefit EAC through the creation of effective networks for migration governance and establishing a policy framework for migration and governance. “The RCP will present a significant opportunity to improve the governance on migration, to address challenges associated with contemporary migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development in the region,” said Mathuki. The region has an estimated population of 195 million people including nearly five million international migrants, over 2.8 million refugees and asylum seekers, and nearly 2.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), with all countries being nations of origin, destination and transit for migrants, the displaced and other groups on the move. With an increase in the flow of labour migrants from the region to destinations like the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), increased climate change-induced migration, forced displacement and migration, conflict-driven migration and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mobility, the Secretariat notes, an RCP on migration for the region is timely. The formation of first RCP dialogue process, it is noted, can respond to migration challenges in the region and maximize the development opportunities migration can bring. The EAC region would not be the first regional economic community in Africa to enhance its approach to migration governance through an RCP. The Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA), the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA), the Migration Dialogue for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Region (IGAD-RCP), the Migration Dialogue from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Member States (MIDCOM) and others are operational. It is hoped that the establishment of a REC for the EAC region will be in tandem with the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Global Compact for Migration. Mohammed Abdiker, the IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa, said that the RCP was the results of the recognition by Partner States on the need to continuously dialogue and cooperate on migration issues at the national and regional levels. Safety of refugees in Rwanda a priority Rwanda is home to more than 127,012 refugees from countries including neighbours Burundi and the DR Congo. Since September 2019, Rwanda has received more than 824 refugees and asylum seekers from Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon. The safety of refugees in Rwanda is a priority as there is a deliberate effort by the government to ensure refugees are well catered for and are entitled to social protection services that all Rwandans enjoy. The refugees in Rwanda are given identification cards which they use to access all services nationals get; they can compete on the job market like all Rwandans do and they get bank loans. Refugees’ children are able to attend school through the 12-year basic education programme and those lucky to secure funding, just like Rwandans, can proceed to university. The refugees living in Rwanda’s urban areas and refugee children in boarding schools are entitled to Mutuelle de Sante premiums by the government to ensure they get medical services wherever they are located, free of charge. Rwanda has been giving refugees and asylum seekers Covid-19 jabs as part of the government’s plan to integrate refugees especially those who are expected to be relocated in the nationwide vaccination drive.