Portugal currently serves as Chair of the Rabat Process, succeeding Morocco, which officially handed over the alternating Africa-EU Chairmanship on 1 February 2024, at a Senior Officials Meeting held in Rabat. This marks Portugal’s second time assuming the Chairmanship, having previously held this leading role in 2016. Portugal’s Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA) acts as main coordinator of the Chairmanship.

Priorities of the Portuguese Chairmanship

The primary goal of the Portuguese Chairmanship of the Rabat Process is to advance the implementation of the Dialogue’s strategic framework – the Cadiz Action Plan 2023-2027 – and foster dialogue through a balanced approach, taking into account the interests of all partner countries. During its mandate, the Chairmanship will ensure that the Dialogue continues in a spirit of consensus and consultation with all Dialogue partners.

The Chairmanship’s key priorities concern the following areas of the Cadiz Action Plan and related objectives and actions:

Area 1: Development benefits of migration and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement

With a view to maximising the positive impact of regular migration (Objective 1), the Portuguese Chairmanship will seek to promote actions to raise awareness of and support for entrepreneurship and productive investment by young people from the African diaspora and women and encourage them to use their skills for the benefit of their countries of origin (Action 3).

Area 2: Regular migration and mobility

Taking into account the importance of promoting regular migration and mobility between and within Europe, North, West and Central Africa (Objective 3), the Portuguese Chairmanship will focus its efforts in promoting a high-level dialogue between national authorities on the identification of labour mobility schemes, including the Talent Partnerships (Action 6); the recognition of diplomas and work experience within national legislative frameworks and portability of social rights of regular migrants and their families (Action 8); and communication, awareness raising and access to information on regular channels of migration by all relevant stakeholders (Action 10).

Area 3: Protection and asylum

Focusing on the specific measures to enhance the protection of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons (Objective 5a), the Portuguese Chairmanship will aim to identify existing cross-border and regional protection initiatives in the Dialogue sub-regions and work collectively to propose actions to improve the protection of refugees and those forcibly displaced (Action 13), in particular prioritising the needs of unaccompanied minors, including through appropriate individual assessment of their situation and needs (Action 14).

The specific programme addressing these priorities will be developed in close collaboration with the Dialogue partner countries and approved by the Rabat Process Steering Committee in March 2024.

Upcoming meetings under the Portuguese Chairmanship can be consulted here:

Video interview of the Portuguese Chairmanship

In a video interview, AIMA’s President outlines Portugal’s vision and thematic priorities for its one-year mandate as Rabat Process Chair:


Role of the Chairmanship

The role of Chairmanship of the Rabat Process was introduced in 2014. The Chairmanship of the Rabat Process is a driving force, shaping the dialogue:

  • Alternating between Africa and Europe, each member of the Steering Committee may hold the Chairmanship for a period of one year. 
  • The role of the Chairmanship is to give impetus to the Dialogue, moderate the political meetings and help find consensus between divergent positions. It plays an essential role in preparing agendas, preparatory documents and recommendations for the meetings. It is supported by the Rabat Process Secretariat.
  • The Chairmanship chooses to focus in particular on political and operational priorities that it shares with the member countries in order to ensure the successful implementation of the strategic framework of the Rabat Process and the Valletta framework.
  • The Chairmanship represents the Rabat Process in international fora and other external meetings. The Dialogue Chairmanship is based on a tripartite / troika model including the outgoing, current and incoming chairmanship.

Past Chairmanships

The following partner countries have already acted as Chair of the Rabat Process since the official introduction of the Chairmanship model:


Burkina Faso
Equatorial Guinea