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ECOWAS Urges Member States to Implement Free Movement Protocol

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Midwa Post Pr
Midwa Post Pr

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is urging its member states to accelerate the implementation of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC) and the abolition of the 90-day stay requirement for community citizens entering other member states.

This call to action comes as part of the efforts to actualize the second phase of the Free Movement protocol, which aims to enhance regional unity, peace, and security.

During the 45th ECOWAS Ordinary Summit, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government repealed the 90-day stay requirement for community citizens. However, the decision has yet to be fully implemented due to a lack of information and political will, hindering the realization of phase 2 of the Protocol on Free Movement – Right to Residency.

Mr. Albert Siaw-Boateng, representing the Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture at ECOWAS, emphasized the importance of being prepared for unexpected migration challenges, such as those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. He called for the review of the Free Movement Protocol and its Supplementary Acts to address these challenges effectively.

The technical meeting for the Border Management Thematic Working Group, held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 30-31 May 2024, sought to enhance existing synergies among members of the technical working group for the enforcement of regional instruments relating to migration. It also aimed to provide an update on the status of implementation of the ENBIC and endorse a Common Position on the abolition of the 90-day stay limitation, elaborating a roadmap for implementation.

The meeting, attended by Border Management experts from various countries, highlighted the significance of adopting the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card as a crucial step towards achieving free movement within ECOWAS member states. The outcomes of the meeting included specific recommendations to harmonize policies and address challenges during the implementation of the ENBIC and the abolition of the 90-day stay limitation for community citizens.

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