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UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary Vera Songwe has urged African countries to sign the protocol of the African Union (AU) on free movement of persons and goods.

Songwe made the call as members of the High-Level Panel on Migration in Africa (HLPM) gathered in Addis Ababa for a Nov. 19-20 meeting to review a continental migration report that aims to reinforce the migration and human mobility policy agenda in Africa.


“My sense is that the free movement of persons is one of those landmark decisions that need to come to fruition in Africa,” Songwe said.

AU member states including Benin, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda and Seychelles were among the pioneers to start issuing visas-on-arrival to fellow African citizens last year.

Ethiopia also joined the list on Nov. 9 this year, saying that it is “in line with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s vision of a closer and full regional integration in Africa, where minds are open to ideas and markets are open to trade.”

HLPM chair and former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Tuesday congratulated members of the high-level panel on migration in Africa for making “significant progress” over the past year of the HLPM’s existence.

“We now have a report that has come a long way in terms of its content and quality. We are here to review and decide if it meets expectations as per our terms of reference,” an ECA statement quoted Sirleaf as saying.

More than 80 percent of African migrants commit intra-Africa migration, in which easing visa restrictions within the continent would have the potential to further reduce the current 20 percent of migration to Europe and other parts of the world mainly via dangerous routes, according to the AU. Enditem


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