ECOWAS And World Bank Working On WURI Project

Directorate of Free Movement and Migration
Directorate of Free Movement and Migration

The Directorate of Free Movement and Migration and the World Bank had a working session on May 23rd and 24th 2022 at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja to review the status of implementation of the US$5 million grant to ECOWAS under the WURI project and to adopt measures to accelerate the implementation of the project.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the Commission to update the World Bank team on actions undertaken since January 2022 to further project implementation. Notable among them were the development of the Project Implementing Manual and some of the terms of references and meeting documents that require the World Bank’s No-Objection.

Key highlights of the meeting were discussions on the possible pathways to interoperability of foundational identity systems where both parties considered WURI implementing Member States’ adoption of soft cooperation instruments such as Memoranda of Understanding to allow systems linkages as they are being designed, whilst the Commission is engaging the Member States in dialogues that will prioritise the initiative’s adoption of a regional character.

The Director of Free Movement and Migration, Mr. Albert Siaw-Boateng stressed the importance of avoiding multitudes of regional ID cards given the existence of the ECOWAS National Biometric ID Card (ENBIC) and the Brown Card. He recommended for the WURI ID technical specification fields’ linkages to the ENBIC and informed of the on-going efforts to harmonise the Driver’s Licence of Member States. He further highlighted similar Member States’ efforts of linking their national ID regimes with the ENBIC as both serve broader objectives.

Furthermore, the meeting reached consensus on the need to adopt a Governance Framework that is reflective of partnership and cooperation of all concerned entities, and in which the Commission plays an active role in the coordination of the Member States. This meeting which was described by both parties as timely and beneficial produced major recommendations, which, if implemented without delay will ensure promising results in steering the WURI programme towards the realisation of its developmental objectives.

The WURI project is an ECOWAS-World Bank partnership implementing a Multiphase Adaptive Programme having as objective to increase the number of persons in participating Member States who have government-recognised proof of unique identity that enables access to services. The Commission is leading regional engagements to facilitate the interoperability and mutual recognition of foundational ID systems for access to services across participating Member States.

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