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Project News: Local-level integration policies in Cabo Verde supported by ICMPD

1 March 2019

On Thursday 28 February 2019 the joint EU-ICMPD MIgration EU eXpertise (MIEUX) Initiative presented, together with local authorities, the EU Delegation and the Directorate General for Immigration (DGI), the Municipal Action Plans for Immigration and Integration (MAPII), resulting from the Initiative’s support to the Government of Cabo Verde.

The MAPIIs translate the priorities of the Cabo Verde’s National Immigration Strategy to the local level while strengthening the capacities of local authorities to better manage immigration and social integration of immigrants. As Victor Gomes Fortes, Director of the Office for Education, Professional Training and Communities (emigration and immigration) at the Boa Vista Municipality stated, “Since we have so many of our own abroad, we want migrants to be treated fairly everywhere, including those coming to Cabo Verde for a better life. Immigration is the side of the same coin for us”.

During the formulation phase of the plans, MIEUX and the DGI gathered staff from town halls and local Gabinetes de Apoio ao Imigrante (GAI – immigrant support offices) who work daily with newcomers and long-term immigrants in their islands and municipalities. Migrant associations, such as the Platform of the African Community, were also an integral part of the process in order highlight the everyday realities and struggles of migrants and align them with the priorities and obligations of local and national authorities.

The drafting group has also developed a standard model of PAMII that will then be tailored for each municipality, depending on their specific demographics and needs. As pioneers, Boa Vista and Praia, the two main destinations for immigrants in Cabo Verde, are presenting their PAMII to a wide range of stakeholders, among which the local EU Delegation, Embassies and other Ministries this week and at the closing event this past Thursday. Other Municipalities will follow soon in their example with support from local consultants and the DGI.

Improving services for immigrants in towns and cities

The new plans will benefit immigrants to Cabo Verde as well as the staff working at the GAI, whose aim is to provide in-person assistance and information regarding entry, residence requirements and integration policies. The first GAI opened in Santa Maria Police Station on the Island of Sal (2013), where a large number of immigrants from mainland West Africa and Europe reside. The DGI now wants to open immigrant support offices in the 22 Cabo Verdean Municipalities across the 9 islands to complement the work of the network of municipal focal points on emigration (RENEM) by setting up a similar network for immigration. 

Cabo Verde’s efforts to improve integration policies through renewed procedures and services is part of a wider vision to embrace the opportunities that migration and migrants can bring for national development. As expressed during a recent interview with Carmem Barros Furtado, Director of the General Directorate of Immigration within the Ministry of Family and Social Inclusion and MIEUX focal point, “migration is a big opportunity for the local development of towns and cities”.

MIEUX and West Africa

MIEUX’s presence across West Africa has been constant since 2009: in 10 years, 27 Actions have been implemented in this region, in 14 out of 16 West African States and with ECOWAS, representing nearly 30% of MIEUX’s portfolio of activities. In line with the interventions in Cabo Verde, the majority of MIEUX’s Actions in West Africa have focused on formulating migration policies, legislation, strategies and action plans in different fields of migration, proving that enhanced migration governance is at the top of the political agenda of West African countries. Some examples include the Migration and Development Strategy in Togo, the Municipal Action Plan for Migrant Integration at the Local Level in Cabo Verde, and the National Migration Policy in Sierra Leone. 

As reported during the 2018 Regional Knowledge Sharing Round-table in Cotonou, MIEUX interventions have been quite successful in setting up sustainable Inter-Ministerial Committees to deal with migration in all its dimensions and these West African States have greatly benefitted from learning about the examples and practices of EU institutions and regional counterparts.

More information about Mieux can be found here. 

More information about DGI can be found here