The African Development Bank, in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, is organising a brainstorming workshop on common migration policy for ECOWAS this week.
The workshop, which will be held at the Novotel Hotel in Dakar, Senegal, will serve to guide the development of a modern day migration policy that responds to the aspirations of the region’s citizens and conforms to present-day realities. It will bring together officials from member states and experts dealing with migration policy issues.
The 15 member ECOWAS Commission was established in May 1975 to promote an integrated socio-economic space for the region’s citizens. One of ECOWAS’ objectives is to enable the free movement of persons, goods and services. In 1979, the ECOWAS Commission adopted the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, which establishes the right of residence and establishment.
The first phase of the Protocol, which became effective 1980, guaranteed free entry of citizens from Member states without visa for 90 days. The second phase of the Protocol, dealing with Right of Residence, became effective in July 1986. However, Right of Establishment is yet to come into force. The citizens of ECOWAS are among the most mobile in the world, and trends indicate that they mainly migrate within the ECOWAS region.