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Ethiopia makes strides in formalizing overseas labor migration: Minister

Addis Ababa, March 7, 2024 (FBC) – Minister of Labor and Skills Muferihat Kamil highlighted the progress of the current Ethiopian endeavors on the labor migration that have been promoting formal channels for sending workers abroad.

Approached by ENA, Muferihat shed light on the nation’s remarkable record in transitioning from informal to formal channels in order to sending workers abroad.

The Government of Ethiopia is implementing multiple initiatives towards improving labor migration governance and skills in the country by developing clear national policy frameworks, legal instruments as well as signing international labor treaties, it was indicated.

Through formalized training, certification and advocacy for fair wages, the country is modernizing its overseas labor migration and developing a globally competitive workforce in addition to addressing local employment needs.

These endeavors have recently resulted in shifting the previous informal way of the labor migration practice to send workers to Gulf countries and other part of the world, the minister pointed out.

“There was a practice of going through the informal way in previous times without enough investment on training workers. That traditional and conventional way of sending our citizens especially to the Horn of Africa region has left its own legacy,” Muferihat pointed out.

However, Muferihat emphasized that the current Ethiopia’s approach on labor migrants that has been supported by multiple initiatives, is markedly different.

“There is now a huge investment from our side to send our citizens (workers) after providing them training. They are no longer going there from scratch. They will get trained, certified, and we’re sure they will deliver better results.”

She further underscored that this substantial investment in skills development is paramount   to Ethiopian workers for having enhanced capabilities in the global labor market.

Noting there was no such investment for the labor migrants previously, Muferiat indicated the current initiative is helping to identify their skills and where the demand lies.

To this end, Muferihat revealed training initiatives including the continuous market assessments information, and other relevant competencies. “We’ll train them as per market demands, equipping them with required skills at the destination countries.”

Muferihat also stressed the need for engaging in collective bargaining in the region, adding that “if we can negotiate as a bloc, we can secure a better position for our citizens in the Horn African region to receive appropriate payment for their services.”

Highlighting the ongoing success of various programs in Ethiopia, the minister disclosed about 181,000 skilled individuals have been sent overseas over the past six months. This figure has exceeded by 50,000 workers compared to the same period last year.

“There is a notable shift not just in numbers but in quality too. Our new agreements include sending skilled, semi-skilled workers like engineers, nurses, architects, and agriculturalists – not just domestic workers,” Muferihat revealed.

Acknowledging persistent high domestic employment demands, over 1.4 million local job opportunities have been created, the minister pointed out.

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