As speculated earlier in the year, the economic downturn predicted at the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic is hitting home, as the economy of Nigeria the 7th most populous nation in the world has gone into recession.
Undoubtedly the ripple effect of the recession that recently struck Africa’s most populous nation is bound to affect its neighbouring nations and the rest of Africa’s economy, and also negatively impact other nations in other parts of the world that has strong trade relations with Nigeria ,which is one of Africa’s economic giants.
This emerging reality is becoming of great concern to the Council of African Elders and Women Intercultural Dialogue (AEWID), who had taken the first warning over a global economic downturn serious, by initiating the process of bringing team of experts in the relevant fields to come together and build a coalition that will stem the tide of trafficking and smuggling of migrants which the expected depression of the economy will trigger in the continent.
All Africa Media Network and the AEWID Council had initiated the process of creating a platform for collaborative relationship between all relevant stakeholders in the fight against trafficking and smuggling of migrants as early as June 2020 , a platform which consisted of notable voices like Mrs. Imaobong Ladipo Sanusi, the Executive Director of Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) founded 20years ago by Mrs Titi Abubakar wife of the former vice president of Nigeria and also the highly reputable Queen Mother Obaapa Awindor the founder of Obaapa Foundation Ghana leading the West African Contingent to the Coalition.
For North Africa Racha Haffar, founder & CEO Not 4 Trade organization Tunisia and Youth Against Slavery Movement-(YASM) has been chairing the process so far, while Her Royal Highness’s Queen Sylvia Nnaginda of Uganda, the co founder of African Queens and Cultural Women Leaders Network and Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Muatta of Congo, are leading the Eastern African region alongside Anika Initiative Kenya and Ayina Think Thank Rwanda which has ensured a massive presence for East Africa at the discourse.
Annestelle Foumobod of Interfaith Foundation and Francisca Awah’s Survivors Network both in Cameroun has been consistent for the Central African Region, while Africa Rise Foundation Zimbabwe and Andile Mqwebu –C.E.O BGD Consulting has been holding forth for South African region of the continent.
For Diaspora Africa the 6th region of the continent, Madam Angela Sayles the Director Global African SHEROES Union and Kim Poole of Teaching Artist Institute, has been holding sway for them ,with Mrs. Mariam Schenk a Dutch citizen of Tanzanian Origin acting as host to the meetings so far.
Now After 4 months of deliberations in series of virtual meetings that started in August 2020 ,in which a reasonable number from the initial 42 persons and organisations consisting of Traditional and Cultural leaders, Travel and Tour agencies, media practitioners, a mental health expert, Ghanaian first female air Marshall, a professional Resource Mobiliser, a medical doctor, an inter-faith based foundation and nongovernmental organisations leading the fight against trafficking in Africa has resolved to forge a path in which they all can work together.
Regardless of the cultural and religious differences , as well as personal and professional challenges complimented with diverse career ethics and workload, the steering committee of the coalition has been consistent in employing diverse communication means to ensure that a strategic plan to help accomplish goal of the mission is ascertained.
“ When we in the Council of African Elders and Women Intercultural Dialogue were approached by the project coordinator of All Africa Media Network early in June 2020, reminding us of the previous discussions held in 2017 and 2018 of the AEWID in Ghana and Nigeria respectively, which culminated in us reaching resolution in a private meeting with Mrs. Fatoumatta Tambajang the former Vice president of Gambia to create a blueprint with which we can engage in the field and use our wisdom as elders to initiate a new paradigm to the fight against trafficking’’
‘’ thus came the idea to unify the different perspectives and understanding of all the major actors in the fight against trafficking together, so we can have a full picture and take the issue head on ,by unifying our different interpretation of the problem into one systemic approach that will employ everyone’s effort in the entire continent as a feasible ploy to totally eliminate the challenge that trafficking and smuggling of migrants presents “’ Elder Imahkus Njinga the Chairperson of AEWID Council explained.
‘’ We are slowly coming to the realization that a Continental Coalition hinged on multi sectoral partnership of all relevant stakeholders in the campaign against trafficking and smuggling of migrants can successfully end this fight ’’ Cookey Iwuoha the project coordinator of All Africa Media Network that initiated the process affirmed.
‘’ The whole process is still at its elementary stage and we appreciate everyone that has sacrificed their time to respond to the call, what we kick-started has the potency to change the global narrative of the African continent on the challenge of trafficking and smuggling of migrants and am grateful to Prof. Phillip Ogbonna the founder of Soren Kierkegaard Academic Society Africa and Ken Obiakor of Leadership Development Foundation for being pivotal in creating the basic literature that kick-started this whole process’’
“our interest is to achieve an Africa for Africans free of slavery in all guise and for this to be successful, the entire process needs to be owned by the people and that’s why he have extended invitation to people we believe can make a difference in the engagement and are open to participation of all relevant stakeholders that we are yet to reach out to‘’ Cookey Iwuoha reiterated.
“the best place to stop trafficking Is our door steps, so there is need for us all to come together, synergize and coalesce our diverse efforts to totally stop human trafficking and its concomitant hazards’’ He entreated.