African nations discuss deeper integration
Moussa Faki African Union Chair
Adesina Idris with Agency report
London, Oct. 21, 2017 (AltAfrika) – A two day meeting aimed at fostering deeper economic integration among African Countries is underway in Kigali, Rwandan capital. A major agenda of the meeting among African ministers is to ease movement of people on the continent.
“Free movement of persons is equally regarded as one of the key strategies in achieving Pan-African ideals,” Rwandan justice minister Johnston Busingye said at the opening of a ministerial session during the second ordinary Specialised Technical Committee (STC) on migration, refugees and displaced persons.
The two-day meeting will also discuss African Union (AU) migration policy framework, and common African position on the global compact on migration. The meeting, following a three-day experts meeting, drew nearly 30 African ministers in charge of emigration.
To accelerate free movement of people and goods will require going beyond political commitments to immediate implementation, officials said at the meeting.
“The difficulty resides in a lack of sense of urgency and capacity to implement the political commitments and decisions taken at the ministerial level in different meetings at regional and continental level,” said Minata Samate Cessouma, AU’s Commissioner for Political Affair.
She said African governments are reluctant when it comes to empower institutions to implement regional integration and intra-African trade policies.
“We need to refocus on the policies and measures to facilitate the movement of persons to deepen regional integration and promote trade between countries across the continent,” said Samate.
To achieve visa-free Africa, free trade area and free movement of persons and goods on the continent will take much more than political commitments, said Mohamed Salem Ouid, minister of foreign affairs of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. He said it will require practical steps on the ground.
According to AU, Africa is faced with a difficulty in free movement of persons in Africa where Africans are forced to go through lengthy and restrictive processes in order to travel and many Africans embark on long, complicated and dangerous routes across the desserts and the Mediterranean Sea.
African citizens need visas to travel to 54 percent of other countries on the continent in 2016, said a report of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The report revealed that 24 percent of other countries on the continent issue visas on arrival to African nationals and 22 percent of African countries waived visa requirements to African visitors.