Dignitaries at the opening of the Migration Information Centre for Returnees, established at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra to provide both voluntary and forced returnees from Germany and Europe advice on available reintegration initiatives and livelihood support programmes/Photo: (c) MKFFI/Moorepictures

German-supported centre for returnees opens in Accra

A German-supported centre has opened at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra to provide both voluntary and forced returnees from Europe advice on available reintegration initiatives and livelihood support programmes by the government and other agencies for their re-establishment process.

The Migration Information Centre for Returnees (MICR) was declared open by the Chief Director of the ministry, Mrs Adelaide Annor-Kumi, on behalf of Ghana’s Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery.

The ceremony was also attended by the Comptroller-General, Ghana Immigration Service, Kwame Asuah Takyi, the Ambassador of the European Union to Ghana, Irchard Ramiandrasoa Razaaly, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Accra, Daniel Krull, and the Minister of Children, Family, Refugees and Integration of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Dr Joachim Stamp, among others.

The Ghanaian government and other stakeholders, Minister Dery said, in the speech read on his behalf, were mindful of the importance of addressing the issues that influenced Ghanaians to irregularly migrate to Europe.

He mentioned poverty, climate change, misinformation regarding migration, among others as some of the factors that influenced irregular migration that needed to be tackled.

Mr Dery noted that it had taken a substantial investment from the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN), the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to have the centre established.

The minister said many Ghanaians in Europe chose Germany, particularly the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, as their main destination. As a result, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the government of Ghana had established a collaborative dialogue on migration management issues, putting dignified return and sustainable reintegration as one of the priority items on the agenda under the ERRIN project.

“Our efforts here today also coincide with the efforts of reducing illegal movement of Ghanaians to European countries,” the minister said, adding that the government and relevant agencies had emphasised the need to adopt a comprehensive approach in the fight against illegal migration.

“The ceremonial opening of the MICR is an excellent example of the cooperation between Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia in the field of migration management. The good reception of returnees and support after arrival and during reintegration are in both our interests. Those who have embarked on the path of irregular migration, perhaps with false hopes, but often with high financial commitment and considerable personal risks, need the chance of sustainable support and a new perspective for the future after returning to their home country,” said Minister Stamp.

“The MICR provides returnees from Germany and Europe with comprehensive advice on reintegration measures and support services after their arrival. This gives people the opportunity to gain a foothold in the Ghanaian labour market,” he added.

“Today’s opening ceremony of the centre is an excellent example of the cooperation between Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia in the field of migration management.”

The partnership between Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia was established in 2007 with the signing of a joint declaration of intent, renewed in 2016 and most recently in 2021. The focus of the cooperation is on Ghana’s sustainable economic development, cooperation in higher education and migration management, as well as an exchange of know-how in the field of taxation and good governance. In response to the Corona pandemic, health issues have been given greater weight.

The German federal state supports civil society projects in Ghana through various funding programmes and has also made the country a focus of its cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Felix Dappah

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