From left: Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Stephen Kampyongo, IOM Zambia Chief of Mission of Mission, Ms. Marianne Lane and UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Janet Rogan during the launch of the Data Assessment Report. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Strengthening Migration Data for Planning and Policy Making in Zambia

Migration is increasingly gaining prominence in the global discourse and development agenda, having received first mention in the Sustainable Development Goals and with at least one indicator fully focusing on migration. The central reference to migration is made in target 10.7 to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies, which appears under Goal 10 to reduce inequality within and among countries.

Zambia, a lower middle-income country in southern Africa, has traditionally been a country of origin for migrants; recent evidence points to increasing numbers also choosing the country as a destination of choice for migrants for a variety of reasons. Zambia’s migration flows are characterized by mixed migration, including regular and irregular migrants, those travelling for economic and other reasons, including men, women and children. Given the challenges and opportunities resulting from the migration dynamics, the Government of Zambia highlighted the pressing need for comprehensive data on migration that can be used for planning and policy making given that the country had typically analyzed and addressed migration data in a fragmented manner, and moreover administrative records were not compiled with the purposes of measuring migration in its entirety:

“The Zambia Central Statistics Office (CSO) collects comprehensive data on internal and international migration through censuses that have been undertaken over the years 1969, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010. Other than the census surveys, such as Living Conditions Monitoring Survey, and the Demographic Health Surveys, limited data is provided on migration in Zambia. The periodicity of undertaking such surveys and censuses means there is a lack of a continuous monitoring of migration patterns in years when the surveys are not conducted.” – Zambia CSO

Against this backdrop the Government of the Republic of Zambia formally requested the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to strengthen its capacity to collect, analyze and utilize migration data, and ultimately to prepare a Migration Profile, for improved planning and policy making.  To this end, IOM Zambia has been providing assistance to the Government of Zambia since January 2017 under an IOM Development Funded (IDF) project, which includes an analysis of available migration data and identification of the gaps through carrying out a Migration Data Assessment, a step which will feed into the development of a fully-fledged Migration Profile in the second phase of the project.

Following the onset of the project a Technical Working Group (TWG) was constituted with members drawn from key ministries and departments that collect migration data or have migration related issues on their portfolio; members of the TWG were formally appointed through Cabinet Office. The purpose of the TWG is to provide oversight and strategic direction on migration data and membership was drawn from senior management of a cross-section departments and ministries of the Government of Zambia.  The TWG is co-chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Immigration Department) and the Central Statistical Office (CSO).

Realizing the technical and knowledge gaps in understanding migration data issues, the project, in collaboration with the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, supported a two-day capacity building training for the TWG members among others. A total of 15 people were trained.

Working closely with a team of national consultants, the TWG and IOM in in the process of finalizing a ‘Migration-Related Data Assessment for the Development of a Migration Profile for Zambia’. Findings from this rapid assessment have provided rich data that has enabled IOM and the TWG to immediately identify gaps and processes where migration could be better articulated in the national development agenda. One such process has been the ongoing development of the Implementation Plan of the Seventh National Development Plan, led by the Ministry of National Development Planning (MNDP).

The Co-Chair of the Technical Working Group, Mr. Japhet Lishomwa, Deputy Director General of Immigration, stated that: “The IOM Development Fund (IDF) Migration Profile Project is an innovative undertaking through which Zambian stakeholders in the migration sector will, for the first time, have a coordinated approach to the generation and management of migration statistics in the country. The coordinated approach has thus far brought together the various players from government institutions and other players to address the inadequacies in terms of intra and inter-institutional gaps in data creation and management which have previously compromised migration data statistics. One thing is for sure – this project will not only result in a Migration Profile for Zambia, but also hugely improve the capacity of the Zambian Government in terms of the collection, analysis, and utilization of migration data.”

Informed by the assessment report, the TWG members and IOM programme staff reviewed the then draft Seventh National Development Implementation Plan (2017 – 2021) to provide input on where migration issues and indicators could be strengthened, which include issues relating to economic development, social inclusion, protection and human rights, policy and legislative frameworks, among others. This input was documented and shared with the Ministry of National Development Planning for consideration and inclusion. While the final implementation plan has not yet been released, the Ministry of National Development Planning and project partners have welcomed the inclusion of these inputs, and the project in general, indicated that it adds great value to the comprehensiveness of the National Development Plan.

Ms. Marianne Lane, the IOM Chief of Mission in Zambia, highlights the value of support from the IDF: “Thanks to the IOM Development Fund, IOM Zambia has been also to support the Government of Zambia to integrate migration matters into the National Development Plan for the first time, which will undoubtedly result in greatly improved migration governance in the country for the benefit of migrants, communities and indeed the country as a whole.”

Following its finalization, the National Migration Data Assessment was officially launched on 14th December 2017. Held at the University of Zambia Veterinary Lecture Hall, the launch was graced by the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Stephen Kampyongo MP, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Janet Rogan, the IOM Zambia Chief of Mission, Ms. Marianne Lane, other Heads of UN Agencies, Senior Government Officials, students for the university and other invited guests. “Migration is key to national development and Zambia is alive to this fact, hence the inclusion of migration into the Seventh National Development Plan,” said the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Stephen Kampyongo MP. Mr. Kampyongo commended IOM for its support to the Government of Zambia for migration governance.  

The assessment findings confirm that migration data sources exist but are dotted in various institutions and in different formats. The assessment further revealed that most of the migration data are collected largely for internal planning and budgeting processes. The extent to which the migration data is analysed is quite limited and there is no integrated approach to data sharing. The assessment therefore recommended the need for a centralised data repository to enhance migration data collation and sharing.

“IOM Zambia is committed to supporting the government in better collection and use of migration data,” explains the IOM Chief of Mission in Zambia Ms. Marianne Lane. She added, “At a time when preparations are underway for the adoption of a Global Compact on Migration, it is critical to demonstrate that we can follow-through our existing and future commitments on this issue.”
As this first phase of the project comes to an end, the Government of Zambia is already able to see the results and benefit from improved coordination, enhanced information and the ability to more comprehensively plan around migration.