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ECOWAS Moves To Address Migration Issues In The Region

The Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) which was inaugurated by the Commission of the Economic community of West African States (ECOWAS) has commenced its second annual meeting of thematic working groups in order to deliberate on border management, immigration data and the return and reintegration of migrants in the region.

The Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of the ECOWAS Commission, Tèi Konzi in his remarks during the opening of the workshop on 17th July 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria stated that there cannot be regional integration without Free Movement of Community citizens which has a direct link and impact on migration.

‘Therefore, the constant assessment of the implementation status on migration will motivate Member States and ensure compliance to the tenets of ECOWAS Migration tests’ he said.

“In view of the projected positive impact of the MIDWA process on the integration of our region, the European Union(EU) within the framework of the ECOWAS – EU Support on Free Movement and Migration in West Africa implemented by a Consortium of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) , the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and International Labour Organization (ILO) are supporting the initiative by strengthening the capacities of stakeholders in the region to better manage migration in West Africa” , he added.

The Project Officer, Migration and Drugs of the EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Eleni Zerzelidou, reiterated the EU’s commitment to assist ECOWAS Member States in addressing the migration challenges they are encountering.

The MIDWA will see delegates and experts from Member States harmonize migration data, review regional statistics and develop policies which will reinforce regional collaboration on border management in the region.

On his part, Frantz Celestine, representing the IOM expressed his belief that effective migration policies which include the monitoring and evaluation of progress within the MIDWA system will enable ECOWAS integrate and the Commission achieve its vision 2020, moving from a community of states to a community of people.

MIDWA was initiated in December 2000 and has eight thematic working groups, three of which held their first annual meeting in 2017.

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