Accra - Italian Government is working hard to help Ghana tackle illegal migration from its roots. This was the core of Ambassador's in Ghana and Togo, Giovanni Favilli, speech at a roundtable forum in Accra with representatives from the Ghana Immigration Authority, the Interior and Exterior Ministries, the civil society and the students.
The meeting, "Challenges and Opportunities of African Youth: Migration, the untold stories", was held at the British Council on the 27th of March with the aim to raise awareness between young people and students on the risks of choosing illegal migration as a chance to travel abroad.
At the sound of an anthem saying "we are all involved in building our motherland" the question spread at the beginning of the session was "why should a graduated young men or young women want to travel illegally just to end up in a detention centre in Libya or to die while crossing the Mediterranean Sea and what is Italy doing, as a border country, to cope with the effects of illegal migration?". Ambassador Giovanni Favilli answered telling what Italy between its borders and the European Union are doing and how much Italy understands migration for the very simple reason that - he said "there are 60 million people living in its border and 60 million is also the estimated number of people of Italian origin living abroad, it means that we have been immigrating for hundreds of years and today we have 5 million of Italian citizens living abroad. So we are a country of emigration but we have taken a bigger surprise on what has happened from 2013 on".
"Italy has received about 700.000 migrants and in between them, we have saved hundreds of thousands of people traveling on boats just about to sink at any moment because Italy didn't think twice, we are saving anyone that is in danger. But this, of course, - carried on the Italian diplomat - didn't come without problems and issues. Over 15.000 people have died at sea not to count those who died in the desert". Giovanni Favilli also highlighted that last but not least there is the problem in Italy and in Europe that illegal migrants cannot be employed or recruited in any legal way. So said he highlighted the creation of hot spots for illegal migrants, houses to temporarily host people especially vulnerable groups of women or minors. This is when the Italian Ambassador suggested the public to check two websites: Aware Migrants (https://www.awaremigrants.org) and Info Migrants (http://www.infomigrants.net/en/) "places where you can get the real untold stories of people who took the trip ending up leaving terrible experiences".
Ambassador Favilli then stressed on the need to stay in Ghana to help build a nation that deserves its youth and enumerated what Italy is doing to help boost the Ghanaian economy. "Italy and European Union are providing access to Ghanaian products duty-free and quota-free with no reciprocity. We brought investment in Ghana, most of all thanks to an Italian Company, Eni, that has brought the biggest investment in Western Africa, the OCTP Integrated Oil&Gas Development Project, in Ghana's offshore, a US$7 billion investment, bringing money and jobs in the country. The main developers in the country - he stressed - are 4 Italian builders each one employing between 1 and 2 thousands of people in their companies (he was surely referring to Barbisotti, De Simone, Ramella Pezza, and Tarricone).
Then Favilli approached the issue raised by the Interior Ministry representative of how hard it is for a Ghanaian to get a regular Visa and he said "we would never accept to give visas to people whom fake documents to get it and this happens every day, but we are more than happy to receive regular students and visitors who can demonstrate the ability to provide for themselves or whom get into one of the scholarships we are advertising during these days in our website".
Eventually, the ambassador lauded vice-president's Mahamudu Bawumia who has urged Ghanaians to patronize the Ghana Post GPS which uniquely identifies each Ghanaian's residential address that is now on required when government rolls out the national ID cards digitalization at the hearth of the new ID policy. "It will help a lot to give regular Visa and this is the only way we will say Akwaba to you in Italy" where Akwaba stays for "welcome" in the local language.