For maximum of my existence, i've lived far from my home town. I was born in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. I lived in Ghana and then Canada as a child. Following a master’s diploma at the London college of Economics, I lived within the uk for 26 years. In my first process with Arthur Andersen, I worked with several colleagues from outdoor the United Kingdom. Like most of them, I did now not see myself as a migrant.

Of direction, others may have perceived me as a migrant, however for the maximum part at the same time as dwelling in cosmopolitan London, I surprisingly did no longer regard myself as a foreigner. I'm aware about direction, that my revel in differed from that of others. I'm aware that many felt like outsiders. 

The “outsider” experience has truly come to be greater extensive in many countries, and it's miles being articulated more prominently. The inflow of refugees and migrants has grow to be a decisive political subject matter in Europe and the us, as is evidenced by means of the substantial amount of sources being spent on building walls and fortifying borders. That money might higher be spent on building people.

Dire dwelling conditions, mind drain

allow me use the state of affairs of my domestic city Freetown to provide an African angle on migration, against the backdrop of the fierce debate over the global Compact on Migration of the United countries. The current scenario in Sierra Leone can be aptly defined as dire based totally on some of human development indices. Already, again in 2000 a survey discovered that over half of college-educated Sierra Leoneans were migrating to greater evolved countries. 

A greater recent observe indicated that we've best doctors and 17 nurses for every one hundred,000 population. I will testify to this frame and brain drain from a private revel in: simplest seven of my 28 classmates who graduated from secondary faculty with super effects in 1984 stay in Freetown today. 

this is an age-vintage phenomenon no longer simply in Sierra Leone, however throughout Africa: professional human beings frequently flip their backs on their native cities and countries, and that they seldom go back. These days, the state of affairs is exacerbated as now our bad citizens are increasingly assignment the irregular and treacherous adventure to are trying to find better opportunities out of doors Africa, exposing themselves to impossible horrors, now and again even dying. Folks that die leave grieving families again domestic, and people who go back are traumatized and battle to reintegrate, growing the socio-economic burden on our towns.

Migration is multifaceted

notwithstanding this emigration, Freetown, like maximum African cities, nonetheless has to deal with net immigration because of the inflow of low-professional people from rural regions. So, while we lose our professional potential in providing critical services to guide inclined, poor citizens, we also ought to deal with new arrivals seeking opportunities in our cities. 

that is why, as the new mayor of Freetown, i have made human development one among my pinnacle priorities. We want to make capabilities and jobs available to young people if we want to slash migration. Recognition is also given to the introduction of efficient jobs that contribute to financial output, as majority of our teenagers are engaged in small size, low-fee employment, like informal retail. That is strengthened by way of the reality that Freetown has approximately one in 50 efficient jobs, which is manner beneath the local average of 1 in 12.

One way i'm doing this is by means of harnessing the knowledge and network of the growing variety of people that proportion transnational allegiances, who lengthy for the possibility to definitely contribute to the house metropolis they have got left. Luckily, with the arrival of new technology, bodily presence is turning into redundant inside the dissemination of understanding. African cities need to make sure that the “body drain” because of migration need now not mechanically result in a “brain drain."

towns have to offer possibility

With those elements in thoughts, i have created a platform that encourages expert input from Sierra Leoneans residing aboard in our urban making plans and education making plans labs. Lots of them regard this as giving something back to their home.

African towns want to be part of the solution to problems caused by migration in order that they can be mitigated. The main task we presently face is lack of movement in imparting a strong and developing financial system, a loss of investment in training, particularly in grownup literacy, and a shortage of funding in jobs, skills improvement and apprenticeships. 

Public-non-public partnerships are a great means to address these problems. Throughout the first six months of my tenure as mayor of Freetown, i have advanced plans to support task introduction inside the green economic system and tourism, funding opportunities in recycling and waste control, and in infrastructure improvement. All stakeholders have a vested interest inside the fulfillment of those projects. 

Consulting metropolis leaders key for development

This week, ahead of the UN conference on migration, the Mayors’ Migration Council may be set up in Marrakesh, led by mayors from round the world. For too long, the UN turned into targeted on replacing views most effective on the country wide and international level. It is unlucky that the voices of mayors and local government are scarcely represented in those discussions.

If we need to cope with migration troubles correctly, the voice of towns need to be heard on worldwide structures. At a time whilst more than fifty five percentage of the world’s population stay in towns, governments and global frameworks can not manage to pay for to make selections without consulting metropolis leaders. 

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE has served as the Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone considering can also 2018. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the Fourah Bay college in Sierra Leone and later a grasp's diploma from the London school of Economics and Political science. She is a finance expert with a record of leading institutional alternate and has campaigned in opposition to the alternate in blood diamonds in the course of Sierra Leone's civil battle. She additionally co-founded a charity that supports deprived kids. Aki-Sawyerr was recognized for her work at some stage in Sierra Leone's Ebola crisis and made an Officer of the most fantastic Order of the British Empire (OBE) via Queen Elizabeth II in January 2016.