NAIROBI, Kenya, June 12, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-A Three-day consultative meeting organized by the Department of Political Affairs with parliamentarians from the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) of the East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament to promote and popularize the ratification of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons: Right of Residence and Right of Establishment commenced today in Nairobi, Kenya.
Following the adoption of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in Africa, its implementation roadmap and the development of the African passport In January 2018, the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government tasked the African Union Commission with the responsibility to promote the ratification of the Protocol by Member States.
Declaring the meeting opened on behalf of the Director of Political Affairs, Dr Khabele Matlosa, the Head of Humanitarian, Refugees and Displaced Persons Division (HARDP), Amb. Olabisi Dare, said the meeting was organized to enable the two parliaments compare notes with each other in the area of free movement of persons in their respective regions, and to open their borders to each other by ratifying the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in Africa by ratifying the Protocol.
“Considering that the Protocol only needs 15 ratifications to come into force and that Six Member States of the EAC and the 15 member States of the ECOWAs have already made significant progress in this area of Free Movement of Persons within their regions, the AU Commission has already embarked on its ratification campaign’’, he said.
Amb. Dare said Africa has a fast growing population of young people which needs to move around Africa and take advantage of opportunities in the area of employment, education and to boost economic and social integration.
“The two regions are brought together in order to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the process. The two RECs have been identified as the most advanced in terms of free movement of persons in their respective regions through the provision of Regional Passports’’, he added.
Amb. Dare said the objective of the meeting of the two parliaments is to accelerate the ratification process and entry into force of the Protocol relating to the free movement of persons in Africa by end of 2020, harmonize the free movement regimes, normative and policy frameworks in EAC and ECOWAS to be aligned with the AU Protocol on Free Movement and its implementation roadmap.
He said the meeting is expected to develop a comprehensive ratification roadmap in support of the Protocol from EAC and ECOWAS regions, to provide recommendations for the harmonization of the regional norms and policies on free movement of persons and border security management with the African Union Protocol by the end of 2020, and to develop a plan to popularize the adopted African Passport as framed in the guidelines for the design, production and issuance and its minimum technical specification and security features.
Amb. Dare therefore, urged the parliamentarians to champion the ratification of the Protocol in their respective National Parliaments.
During the three-day meeting, presentations on the Study on the Benefits and Challenges of Free Movement of Persons in Africa, Security related issues that impact on the Free Movement of Persons in Africa, Security aspects related to travelers and the Guidelines on the Technical Specifications of the African Passport would be delivered for discussions.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the African Union Commission.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Yusuf Muhammed | Knowledge Management and Communications Officer
Department of Political Affairs | Mohammedy@africa-union.org | Tel: +2511155177 00