Mali and IOM Sign a Partnership Agreement for the Implementation of a Project to Assist and Protect 622 Malian Migrants in Transit in Niger

The Minister of Malians Abroad and African Integration, Alhamdou AG ILYENE, and IOM Chief of Mission in Mali, Pascal REYNTJENS, signed a partnership agreement for the implementation of a project to assist and protect 622 Malians hosted in a migrant reception centre in Assamaka in the Agadez region of Niger.

Under this agreement signed with IOM, the Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration agrees to provide financial support to contribute to food and medical assistance for 622 Malians staying in the Assamaka migrant reception centre. These Malian migrants had already been assisted by IOM Niger. The support proposed by the Government of Mali will serve to enhance the response to their urgent needs, pending their return under IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme for stranded vulnerable migrants who wish to return to their country of origin.

According to the Minister of Malians Abroad and African Integration, Alhamdou AG ILYENE, large numbers of migrants arrived in northern Niger in recent years, straining local reception capacities. “The Government of Mali decided to work with IOM including building its capacity to meet the emergency humanitarian needs in terms of food and care for Malian migrants. This is the objective of this agreement. IOM has been doing most of the work. We simply support this,” he said.

Thanks to IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme, 4,789 Malian migrants stranded in Niger were able to return to their country and begin their socio-economic reintegration, from January to December 2022. This programme is mainly funded by the European Union, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration launched in 2017. Through the “Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships to Achieve Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS)” initiative, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has been contributing since December 2022. This is the first time that the Government of Mali has directly committed to making a financial contribution to this humanitarian action implemented by the United Nations Migration Agency for the benefit of its citizens.

“The assistance to be provided through this financial contribution from the Malian authorities will allow a larger number of people to have access to health care and food for a longer period of time and return to their country in the best possible conditions,” said Pascal REYNTJENS, IOM Chief of Mission in Mali. For him, “the fact that the Government of Mali is committed to providing funding through IOM is a sign of confidence”.

More than 1,200 Malians are currently waiting for their assisted return in IOM transit centres in Niger. Due to the socio-political and security situation in the sub-region, as well as issues related to their travel documents, some migrants may spend a relatively long period of waiting. This entails an increasing need for direct assistance.