CAPE TOWN: In ministerial-level talks, they agreed to “attack underlying causes of irregular migration,” according to a joint statement.
The countries also vowed to strengthen national laws to prosecute traffickers and improve coordination among police and judiciary in fighting human smuggling.
The one-day “conference on coordination of the struggle against traffickers of migrants” took place against a backdrop of renewed concern in Europe over illicit migration, three years after a massive human influx led to a rise in xenophobia and far-right populism in several EU states.
Niger, one of the large nations lying south of the Sahara in West Africa, has become one of the main routes for African migrants heading north to the Mediterranean coast in the hope of crossing to Europe.
Collomb said because of a series of preventive measures taken by Niger, the number of Europe-bound migrants passing through the country had “dropped drastically” from 330,000 in 2016 to 70,000 last year.
Two Africa-EU summits in 2017 put the focus on training police and paramilitary gendarmerie forces, help with conducting border checks and the creation of identity databases.
Europe’s part in taking on irregular migration in Africa gained force with “migratory pacts” signed in 2015 in Valetta, capital of Malta, which built on previous accords to reach a global approach dating back to 2006.