African nations urged to allow free movement


The African Union Commission Thursday has urged member states to speed up the process of ratification of the protocol on free movement.

Africa Union Social Affairs Commissioner Amira Al Fadil made the remarks at the opening of a two-day ministerial meeting on migration, refugees and displaced people.

“Political and economic integration as envisioned as part of Agenda 2063 [the continent’s social, economic and political development blueprint] could not be achieved without free movement of people,” she said.

The free movement of persons and the African passport is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063.

African leaders aspire for “a continent where free movement of people, capital, goods and services will result in significant increases in trade and investments among African countries rising to unprecedented levels and strengthen Africa’s place in global trade,” according to the African Union.

According to al-Fadil, only four countries — Mali, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe and Niger — out of 55 member states have so far ratified the protocol, which also provides the right to residence and establishment.

A specialized technical committee will present a report at the ministerial meeting on migration, refugees and displaced persons in the coming two days.

“Over one third of the world’s forcibly displaced persons are in Africa, including 6.3 million refugees and asylum seekers, and 14.5 million IDPs [internally displaced persons], thus Africa has no option but to double its efforts to address these phenomena,” according to a document available at the event.
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