Intra-regional migration promotes economic development

By
Patience Gbeze, GNA

Koforidua, Jan. 21,
GNA – Intra-regional mobility has the potential to promote economic development
in both migrant receiving and sending countries.

Professor Mariama
Awumbila, Project Coordinator of Migration and Development Partnerships for
Rights-Based Migration and Mobility Governance in, from and to West Africa,
(MADE West Africa), said about 80 per cent of migration on the continent was
within.

She, therefore,
called for developing an integration strategy to strengthen African countries
and to enhance the implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol on the
continent.

“Majority of
African migrants move to other African countries, thus, using them as a first
step before migrating to Europe and other Asian countries,” she added.

She was speaking at
a second multi-stakeholder workshop to promote intra-regional mobility within
the ECOWAS region by enhancing their skills to address the challenges and fully
implement the free movement protocol in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

It is also to
provide a platform for participants from both countries to further discuss the
mechanisms and strategies for addressing the various challenges associated with
the implementation of the free movement protocol and to finalise the roadmap.

Prof Awumbila said
the workshop would increase knowledge of participants on the obstacle to
implementation of the free movement protocol, equip them with skills required
to address the challenges associated with implementation of the protocol, and
finalise the roadmap for addressing the challenges.

She said the project
undertaken by the MADE West Africa, which looked at the implementation of the
ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol in Ghana and Sierra Leone found out that there
were several challenges to the implementation of the protocol.

Some of the challenges
she said included; low knowledge on the protocol, harassment of ECOWAS
Community Citizens as they cross the borders, discrimination against citizens,
lack of data, especially on management information systems to manage movement
within West Africa region, and lack of coherency between some aspects of the
protocol and national laws.

She said the issue
of Ghana was the banning of foreign traders in certain sectors of Ghana’s trade
at certain level such as retail trade.

“Meanwhile the
ECOWAS protocol allows for the right of establishment and therefore they are
allowed to work. So there is that contradiction between the ECOWAS Law and the
Ghanaian Laws,” she added.

Prof Awumbila who is
also a Professor at the Centre for Migration Studies and the Department of
Geography, University of Ghana, said the project realised that efforts were
underway by the ECOWAS Secretariat and some governments to address some of the
challenges.

Professor John K.
Teye, Director of Centre for Migration Studies, University if Ghana, said as
part of the project, a study was conducted by the Centre to identify obstacles
to the implementation of the free movement protocol in Ghana.

He said the findings
indicated that despite some achievements, there were still some challenges to
the implementation of the free movement protocol, especially with regards to
the right of residence and the right of establishment components, but with some
aspect of the right of entry component.

The ECOWAS adopted
the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Establishment
in 1979.

Since then,a number
supplementary protocols were designed to facilitate the flow of goods, services
and labour within the ECOWAS region.

Prof Teye said the
study also showed that while there were significant achievements in the
implementation of the free entry component of the protocol, the implementation
of the Rights of Residence and Establishment were poor.

Against this
background, the MADE West Africa project, funded by the European Union and
Coordinated by International Catholic Migration Commission, seeks to promote
intra-regional mobility within the ECOWAS region by addressing obstacles to the
full implementation of the free movement protocol, with particular reference to
Ghana and Sierra Leone.

GNA

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