Migration and the Ebola crisis in Africa are some of the concerns brought up for discussion at this year's African Union Summit. More than 50 heads of states gathered in South Africa to find resolutions to these issues.

 AU_Summit_delegates_article More than 50 heads of states in Africa attended the 25th AU Summit hosted in South Africa from 7 – 15 June. (Image: Dirco ZA via Flickr)


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Melissa Javan

A total of 60% of migrants are young people, said Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko.

Kaloko, commissioner for social affairs for the African Union (AU) Commission, addressed the media at the 25th AU Summit in Johannesburg about migration and development, as well as the AU's response to the Ebola crisis. The summit is running from 7 to 15 June, at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Tackling migration

Kaloko said migration within Africa is a matter his department is addressing. "We are looking at the root cause of the problem."

Migrants tend to leave their home countries to find improved economic and social opportunities elsewhere, or seek refuge if their country of birth is experiencing conflict. He said the AU is looking for solutions to violent situations on the continent, and in doing so, the organisation hopes to curb migration.

"We have to make African countries more attractive to [African] people," he said. "What the AU is trying to do is create very good industries and produce raw material [to sell]. People are interested in jobs and employment so we have to entice them with that."

He said African countries could also benefit from the exchanging of experts.

The Ebola crisis

Kaloko said the largest number of medical personnel deployed for the Ebola crisis is to West Africa. Initially the AU aimed at deploying between 100 and 200 people to areas where the outbreak was severe. But that number increased when the virus spread rapidly. "We have scaled up to 1000 people. In Liberia for example we have about 300 medical staff on the ground."

Currently, the AU is scaling down the number of personnel as the severity of the virus dwindles. "We are sending people back [to their home countries]," said Kaloko.

Some medical staff will still remain in affected areas. "Even if we have zero cases in none of the three countries [Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea], we will still have about a 100 medical staff staying there."

He said they are now focusing on surveillance and will deploy mobile units immediately if there is a case of infection.

As a precautionary measure, medical staff are quarantined for 21 days as soon as they return home.