By Maxwell Nkansah
The Sierra Leonean Government, in partnership with the SOS Labour, and the Nekotech Center for Labour Migration Diplomacy both under the leadership of a member of the African Union Labour Migration Advisory Committee representing the Diaspora African Forum, Rev Dr. Asie Kabuki Ocansey is setting a new order for labor migration in Africa.
The Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM), a body comprising over 300 journalists covering migration matters across the continents in a statement signed by its President, Ajibola Abayomi hailed the partnership between the nation’s Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the labor organizations that led to the appointment of Ocansey as the Principal Labour Migration Consultant to the SL Government and urged other African countries to copy a good example by eschewing arrogance.
JIFORM was particularly delighted on April 21, 2021, and noted that Alpha Timbo, the SL Minister of Labour and Social security played a key role in ensuring that the country lifted the ban on labor migration to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) corridor thereby opening doors for negotiation for decent work.
The ban created an underground world of migrant smuggling and trafficking through neighboring Conakry airports. The Minister proposed the SOS initiative Transfer2Transform, a turnkey legal migration framework for Decent Work, Work-Study and Diaspora engagement through Investments drives and a structured national service program.
Lifting the ban, Ajibola argued, has further promoted the tide of regular migration through proper monitoring of migrant workers who desired to be trained for overseas jobs.
He said the partnership had opened new dawn for Sierra Leonean migrants as the UAE Dubai Expo 2020 celebrated nationalities from the West Africa nation that arrived in the region from October 15 through Africa’s first game-changing Decent Work Migration Program to the GCC dubbed: Transfer2Transform (T2) packaged by Ocansey.
The first group of four migrant workers of the T2 left Freetown for Dubai on October 14 and arrived on October 15 to resume work with FAKHRUDDIN properties in the country.
JIFORM noted that although the Covid-19 era exposed a near-slavery migration system between many African migrants and the GCC as many African undocumented and stranded women roamed the streets of Lebanon, following the explosion in 2020.
“Many African governments had to organize rescue missions to bring home their stranded citizens while others resorted to banning their citizens from going to the GCC but SL took another approach and decided to fix the problem. In doing so, they rebranded the image of Africa by saving the teaming young ladies from being sold into slavery through the back door.
“Although the process had not been without challenges while smugglers and traffickers take anyone ready to pay to travel, the SOS jobs had many requirements including the ability to communicate in English. SOS also required fully vaccinated and physically fit candidates, bringing onboard US Fitness Trainer and Timbo’s team of local military trainers.
According to JIFORM, they can confirm that T2T migration framework and portal is set to ensure that we digitize a new customized labor migration process, which is user friendly and can help the government have data on every citizen that migrates, while the banks ensure remittance are carefully invested for the migrants,” Ajibola said.