ECOWAS To Enhance Migration Statistics, Free Movement Regime

ECOWAS

To strengthen cooperation between African sub-regional institutions, officials from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) went on a 4-day learning mission to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission.

The learning mission, which was officially launched recently in Abuja, Nigeria, by vice-president of ECOWAS Commission, Damtien Tchintchibidja, was to share the experience gained in the area of the free movement regime and the enhancement of migration statistics.

Specifically, the mission will enable IGAD to gain knowledge and understanding of the governance and functioning of the free movement of persons regime in the ECOWAS region, by examining the legislation, policies, regulations, procedures and instruments that have made it a success, as well as the procedures and instruments that have made the regime an effective tool for peace and development in the ECOWAS region.

In her opening address, the vice president of the ECOWAS Commission Damtien Tchintchibidja, said, the event demonstrated the commitment to regional integration and the spirit of collaboration while also commending the role played by ECOWAS experts in drafting the IGAD Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons.

She acknowledged the support of international partners, including the European Union, IOM and GIZ, and expressed appreciation for their support for ECOWAS initiatives.

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On behalf of the IGAD executive secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu; the IGAD Permanent representative to the AU and head of the IGAD delegation, Ambassador Maureen Achieng, expressed her deep appreciation for the leadership of ECOWAS and the Nigerian government for facilitating this crucial meeting.

The ambassador also highlighted IGAD’s achievements in developing protocols for the free movement of people and transhumance, saying, “Our cooperation with ECOWAS on these protocols is aligned with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and establishes a framework for economic and social prosperity in our regions.” Ambassador Maureen observed.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, the director of External Relations at the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jérôme Boa, expressed his gratitude to the IGAD delegation for its cooperation, stressing the common objectives and challenges facing the two regions, highlighting the importance of mutual learning to promote a harmonious and prosperous Africa.

The two organisations reiterated their commitment to strengthening inter-regional ties, enhancing economic opportunities and ensuring the well-being of their populations through cooperation initiatives.

IGAD is a regional economic community comprising the countries of the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. Its mission is to develop and accelerate regional integration and cooperation between Member States.

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This exchange visit was facilitated through the support of the EU that has been supporting free movement in the continent since 2014.

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