In achieving free movement devoid of harassment among West African countries, the International Centre for Migration Policy (ICMPD) is stepping up a regional monitoring mechanism on free movement of Inter-State passenger vehicles, persons and goods in the region.
As part of efforts to ensure the implementation of this mechanism, the monitoring committees for each country have been setup, as well as equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge.
In an interview with Goldstreet Business, Project Manager and Head of Office, ICMPD West Africa, Mojisola Sodeinde, said “when the full implementation begins, the average West African would be able to enter any vehicle that has ECOWAS sticker on them from Ivory Coast, through to Lagos without any kind of harassment.”
The Mechanism aims to reduce the level of harassment along ECOWAS inter-state highways, improve time and reduce red tape for transporters and passengers as well as improving the flow of inter-state buses in ECOWAS Member States.
Further, this aims at strengthening the regional coordination on the free movement of persons, in line with the ECOWAS vision of a borderless and integrated region where the population enjoys free movement and has access to its abundant resources.
The Mechanism has drawn extensively from the model in use in Cote-d’lvoire that is based on a public-private partnership that brings together relevant stakeholders within the structure of the National Steering Committee to operationalize the Mechanism at the national level.
With the support of ICMPD, the Mechanism has been piloted in eight ECOWAS Member States: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, with plans to extend to other ECOWAS Member States.
The pilot project has suffered some sort of delay, for which reason it is still in the implementing process.
The pilot project, in its third year, was supposed to last two years.
Sodeinde explained that “this is because of the different obstacles of getting the policies accepted by all the member states in the various countries and for them to setup a steering committee to direct the project.”
By Joshua W. Amlanu