Politics of Friday, 12 October 2018
The Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Parliament and NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, has urged African leaders to work towards attaining the visa free movement of people across African Union (AU) member countries.
He said clearly, the visa free movement agreed upon with 2018 as a deadline could not be met due to the lack of commitment by many member countries.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh made the call at the ongoing meeting of ECOWAS member states and secretariats and the East Africa Commission (EAC) in Dakar, Senegal.
The meeting is on the popularisation of the free movement protocol.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh said some countries such as Ghana, Mauritania and Senegal had shown goodwill by the passage of laws that allowed a 90-day stay in their countries without visas.
He, therefore, urged the AU to impress on other African countries who had remained adamant to take steps to ease the movement of people to their respective countries.
“Their attitude will not facilitate the bigger dream of the continent. These countries must show goodwill and respect the principle of reciprocity,” he said.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh said it was about time African leaders went beyond merely signing protocols and implement what they had agreed upon.
“The world will not wait for us. We must give meaning to the visions of our forefathers and thankfully, we have hindsight benefits. We do not have to reinvent the wheel,” he said.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh called for a concerted action to reduce the cost of air transport across the African continent. “We must as a matter of urgency work on flight cost within the continent.”
“It is often more expensive to travel within the sub-region than even travel outside the continent with even longer travel hours. This is totally unacceptable,” he said.
Representatives of ECOWAS and EAC supported Mr Annoh-Dompreh’s call for the AU to zero in on countries which are not respecting the principles of reciprocity.
They further urged African Parliaments to quickly ratify the protocol before the end of the year.