IOM’s African capacity building centre celebrates 10th Anniversary

24Sep 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
IOM’s African capacity building centre celebrates 10th Anniversary

THE International Organization for Migration’s African Capacity Building Centre for Migration Management (ACBC) celebrated its 10th Anniversary in Geneva recently.

Attended by representatives from IOM’s African Member States, donors, partners and IOM colleagues, the occasion also served as a launch of one the ACBC’s latest initiatives, the Passport Examination Procedure Mobile Application (PEPM 2.0 App).

The app will assist state immigration authorities in better managing travel document security particularly in remote border postings, thus contributing to increased cross-border and traveller facilitation, protection and security.

Since autumn 2009, the ACBC is hosted by the United Republic of Tanzania within the premises of the Tanzanian Regional Immigration Training Academy (TRITA) in the city of Moshi, located at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. In his opening remarks, Maurice Ketenusa, Commander of TRITA, reiterated Tanzania’s continued strong support for the ACBC and his appreciation for the professional and tireless work of the Centre’s staff.

The Centre contributes positively and practically to key policy and programming directions as set out by its Member States, the African Union (AU) (including the AU’s Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons), the various African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as ECOWAS, SADC or the EAC, the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2018 Global Compact of Migration (GCM) or the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP).

Since 2009, the initial thematic focus of the ACBC has been put on tailored, often quite technical trainings in the thematic field of immigration and border management. Over the last years this thematic focus has been broadened to include other key migration management areas such as migration and health (notably health at borders), migration and development (notably border management and development/trade), as well as labour migration, climate change and migration, or migrant protection and assistance.

Nelson Goncalves, manager of the ACBC, presented the Centre’s achievements over the last 10 years: 241 trainings were carried out across Africa and 6,500 immigration officers from around the entire continent trained. The trainees include 40 certified ACBC trainers (following the concept of ‘training of trainers’). Trainings by the ACBC were and continue being regularly conducted in the major languages spoken of the continent, i.e., Arabic, English, French and Portuguese, as well as in Kiswahili, a major language spoken widely especially in Eastern Africa.

Since its creation, the ACBC has further consistently focused in its work on supporting immigration officials with the responsible use of new technology. This includes a strong effort on supporting member states to fulfil their obligations as regards human rights and privacy/personal data protection. The new PEPM 2.0 App was developed with financial support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Italian Development Cooperation. It complements the well-established ACBC training manual and course Passport Examination Procedures Manual (PEPM) 2.0. In his presentation, Deputy Director Riks from the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security underlined the need for international cooperation in the migration management field.

In her contribution, Marietta Muwanga-Ssevume, IOM’s Chief Information Officer and Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) underlined the steadily increasing importance of advanced IT technology and systems to better meet the needs and growing demands in the field of migration and border management: “There is a great potential that the responsible use of new technology offers to better support migrants in a globalized world – IOM is strongly committed to further strengthen its efforts in this field,” she said.

Dr. Qasim Sufi, Chief of Mission of IOM Tanzania underlined the Centre’s value, saying, “The ACBC is there to assist IOM’s African Member States through practical and technical trainings and support. Global developments especially in the technical field are gaining in speed and most countries around the world do need support to harness the benefits of such rapid development while eliminating or mitigating associated risks.” He added, “The ACBC should serve as a good example for other regions in the world.”

Florian G. Forster, IOM’s Head of Immigration and Border Management highlighted the importance of practical, technical trainings provided by the Centre. “Such hands-on trainings for immigration officials from members states are really key for being able to effectively operationalize and rollout wider policy frameworks and achieve their objectives,” he said.