In the framework of ERRIN Government-to-Government project in Ghana, implemented by ICMPD and the Repatriation and Departure Service of the Netherlands, in collaboration with the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), a Migration Information Centre for Returnees (MICR) was established at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
On Monday 21 February 2022, the MICR was formally inaugurated with an opening ceremony at KIA, including a joint ribbon-cutting moment between Dr. Joachim Stamp, Minister for Children, Family, Refugees and Integration and Deputy Prime Minister of the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, Chief Director at Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Ghana. The MICR is designed to ensure that Ghanaian returnees are provided with appropriate information, care and necessary tools, which can enable them to commence their reintegration journey.
ERRIN Senior Programme Manager, Mr. Ruben Laurijssens, attended the event and noted how the aim of the initiative is to create a more direct operational cooperation between governmental institutions and better assist returning migrants, directly upon return, with a special focus on building the capacities of the GIS with regards to the reception of returnees.
Mrs. Mojisola Sodeinde, ICMPD Head of West Africa Region, highlighted in her speech that “the project succeeded in establishing a ‘Stakeholders Coordination Platform’, which brings together ten different government agencies to dialogue, deliberate, share experience and proffer solutions to some of the challenges they face in the course of their work with returnees. A platform that contributed to streamlining and improving the services provided to returnees upon their arrival at the airport”.
The Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Ambrose Dery represented by the Chief Director Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, applauded the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Ministry for Children, Family, Refugees and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for supporting the GIS in “making dignified readmission and sustainable reintegration of returnees into our communities a priority”.
Highlighting on the relevance of the MICR, GIS Comptroller-General Mr. Kwame Asuah Takyi said the MICR will contribute to keeping proper documented records on Ghanaian return migrants. They “want Ghanaian migrants who decide to return to Ghana to do so in a safe and dignified way with full respect to human rights standards. The MICR started as a desk at the KIA and since its inception in 2019 has assisted over 1000 migrants, whereas over 600 returnees have benefited from reintegration”, he said.
German Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana, H.E Daniel Krull, in his remarks observed that there is a potential for mutual beneficial migration, in particular to qualified technicians, trainees, students, researchers, business people or artists. “We should discourage people from taking the risky – in many cases – fatal route through the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea”, he said.
H.E Mr. Irchad Razaaly, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Ghana, highlighted in his speech that “through ERRIN, the EU is actively developing a joint approach to return and reintegration with the active collaboration of both EU Member States and Ghana”. He finally expressed his congratulations to “Germany and Ghana for the efforts deployed to set up the centre, which is part of a larger and mutually beneficial partnership between the EU, the Member States and Ghana, in the area of migration. A partnership that will not stop at migration management but that also involves investment in growth and job creation in Ghana, as well as the creation of opportunities to study and work in Europe“.
The ceremony was attended by Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, representing the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Ghana; Mr. Kwame Asuah Takyi, GIS Comptroller-General; Dr. Joachim Stamp, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Children, Family, Refugees and Integration, North Rhine-Westphalia; H.E Mr. Irchad Razaaly, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Ghana; H.E Daniel Krull, German Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana; Mr Ruben Laurijssens, ERRIN Senior Programme Manager; Ms. Mojisola Sodeinde, Head of the West African Region, ICMPD; members of the diplomatic corps in Ghana; development partners and national stakeholders.