The ECOWAS Commission and a delegation of the World Bank held a two-day meeting, November 10 and 11, 2022, in Abuja, Nigeria.
The meeting was within the framework of the second Implementation Support Mission for the West Africa Unique Identification for Regional Integration and Inclusion (WURI) Project.
The objective of the mission was to review the implementation of the $5 million grant given to ECOWAS Commission under the WURI Project. Specifically, the mission was to support the implementation of the project and see how best to accelerate it; identify bottlenecks that impede smooth implementation and propose solutions. The mission was also an opportunity to discuss with relevant Directorates of the ECOWAS Commission, the overall coordination and implementation of the WURI Programme. Notable among them are the Directorates of Legal Affairs, External Relations and Digital Economy and Post.
The meeting was held at the Directorate of Free Movement of Persons, and Migration, the Directorate which has been entrusted with the implementation of the project on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Free Movement of Persons, and Migration , Mr. Albert Siaw-Boateng on behalf of the Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Ms. Massandje Toure-Litse, and the Project Implementation Unit welcomed the World Bank delegation to their second visit to the ECOWAS Commission within the framework of the WURI project. He equally expressed his appreciation for the Directors of Legal Affairs, External Relations and Digital Economy and Post, and their staff for making it a must to attend the meeting. This for him was a great show of commitment of ECOWAS to the success of the project.
The Director of External Relations, Mr. Jerome Boa, on his part, thanked the World Bank for their support to the project before calling for a collaborative effort to move the project forward. ‘The project will benefit the whole of the ECOWAS region’ he emphasized.
At the end of the two-day meeting, key decisions have been taken to ensure that the project is successfully implemented. These key decisions include the agreement reached by the ECOWAS Commission and the World Bank to adopt the Governance Framework; the validation of wthe roles and responsibilities of the ECOWAS Commission-World Bank co-secretariat of the project’s committees; and the validation of key activities of the Annual Work Plan and Budget for 2023.
It should also be noted that thanks to this mission, the project has been able to request for funds after which the World Bank fiduciary team confirmed that the project can request for funds on quarterly basis.
In closing, the Task Team Leader (TTL) of the project at the World Bank, leader of the delegation, Ms. Audrey Ariss, congratulated the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) led by the Director of Free Movement of Persons, and Migration for the progress made. She expressed the hope to see the project fully take-off in 2023.
The WURI is a multi-phase programme financed by the World Bank and implemented by Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and Togo, and the ECOWAS Commission, with the objective to increase the number of persons in participating countries who have government-recognized proof of unique identity that enables access to services. Specifically, the Commission aims to foster regional dialogues and cooperation for cross-border mutual recognition of foundational identity systems for access to services