Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA)

Many parts of the African continent are currently affected by a shortage of qualified human resources. Large-scale departures of executives and university graduates have contributed to this shortage.

Thousands of African professionals such as medical doctors, nurses, accountants, engineers, managers, teachers, etc. leave Africa each year. The main reason for their departure has been to improve their living conditions, either by pursuing studies or by seeking better-paying jobs. Others depart fleeing from insecurity and/or unstable political and socio-economic conditions.

The resulting brain drain heightens the dependency of African economies by compelling them to resort to costly foreign expertise in many areas, which in turn creates a widening vicious circle.

What is MIDA?

"Migration for Development in Africa" (MIDA) is a capacity-building programme, which helps to mobilize competencies acquired by African nationals abroad for the benefit of Africa's development.

Based on its long experience in the Return of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN), IOM has launched this new programme to strengthen its capacity building efforts in assisting African countries to benefit from the investment they have made in their nationals. Many African nationals in the diaspora are applying their qualifications and skills in developed countries in Europe and North America. Such qualifications and skills should be brought back into the mainstream of development of the African continent. Through its mobility-based approach, MIDA aims at helping African nationals to directly contribute to the development of their countries of origin.

The Organization for the African Unity (OAU) endorsed the MIDA programme at the 74th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers and the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU that took place from 5 to 7 July 2001 and from 9 to 11 July 2001 respectively, in Lusaka, Zambia.

IOM's Role

The OAU requested "IOM, in partnership with the OAU, the African Development Bank (ADB), the international community and funding organizations and other stakeholders, to strengthen their activities in the continent by promoting specific development projects in areas predisposed to international migration". It also called on IOM "to continue to help African countries to encourage and facilitate the return of their qualified expatriate nationals and promote the initiated Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA)."

IOM in cooperation with African sub-regional bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Maghreb Arab Union (UMA) is developing partnerships aimed at reinforcing the links between migration and development in Africa.

The overall objective of the MIDA programme is to assist in strengthening the institutional capacities of African governments to manage and realise their development goals through the transfer of relevant skills, financial and other resources of Africans in the diaspora for use in development programmes in Africa.

A copy of the MIDA strategic plan can be downloaded here; a version in French is also available.