Free Movement of Persons and Migration Project in West Africa Builds Capacity in Migration Data Collection and Management

Capacity Building

Nigeria - This week (22-24/05), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with support from the UN Migration Agency (IOM) through the EU-funded Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa) project, organized a three-day regional training of trainers on migration data collection and management.

The training – held in Abuja, Nigeria – focused on strengthening national capacities on migration data management as effective data collection is vital to migration management with significant benefits to migrants, host communities and governments.

Countries in the West African region have improved their migration management by establishing various standards, methodologies, concepts and definitions related to migration. However, at national level, data has not been consistently collected and the data that has been collected is not always effectively utilized. The region’s high rate of human mobility is key to its economic growth. However, a lot of this mobility is not measured due to the absence of harmonized procedures for collecting and analysing migration data.

“Collecting, analysing and understanding migration data means there is a need to collect more than just border control data,” said Ann Singleton, University of Bristol and Senior Advisor to IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). “Using the ECOWAS Guidelines as a starting point, National Statistical Offices and Ministries will be able to better understand, and report to, their policy makers at the national and regional levels to help build an evidence base for effective policies,” said Singleton.

To address this challenge, the ECOWAS, in collaboration with IOM GMDAC, developed regional guidelines (2016) that contain standardized definitions of migration terms and concepts, as well as an action plan for improved data practices. As a result, ECOWAS and IOM GMDAC facilitated a series of trainings for government officials in the region.

This regional training of trainers brought together 30 experts from national statistics offices and officers in charge of administrative data collection from the national immigration agencies of ECOWAS Members States. They worked on the regional guidelines and the training tools to reinforce their knowledge and capacities to step-down the training at the national level.

“I’m happy to participate in this training. This is an ideal environment to discuss ideas on how to improve data collection and management,” said Dauda Aba Fane from the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) in Mali. “I hope to be better prepared once I complete this training. I’ll share the acquired knowledge with my colleagues in Mali to be able to improve together trustable data. Improved data are essential to inform policy makers,” she added.

The training was co-facilitated by ECOWAS, Research and Statistics directorate, and the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) global experts.

The Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa) project is implemented by IOM, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), and is being funded jointly by the European Union and ECOWAS.

The FMM West Africa project seeks to maximize the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in West Africa and has a component on intra-regional dialogue and migration policy development, specifically designed to support the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) process.

For further information please contact, Frantz Celestin, Tel: (234) 814 0671127, Email:

ECOWAS Builds Capacity in Migration Data Collection and Management.