In the Nigerian capital of Abuja, heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have confirmed their intent to create a common regional Visa called ECOVISA.
The recommendation was contained in the final communiqué of the 55th Ordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member Countries. The rapid implementation of ECOVISA will boost tourism in the region, according to the regional bloc.
The move follows the sub-regional body’s effort to effectively manage migration and emerging trends associated with movement of persons across borders. They head of states called for the setting up of a committee to implement a strategy on the ECOVisa and determine a timeframe for its convergence.
The Conference of Heads of State called on “the member states to take measures to accelerate the implementation of the ECOWAS biometric national identity card, with the aim of facilitating mobility within the region.
The Conference also called for the inclusion of immigration in the national security architecture in member states and the provision of dedicated counters for ECOWAS citizens alongside nationals of member states in addition to joint investigation to combat transnational crimes.
The conference also welcomes the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on the Trade Liberalization Scheme (SLE) to remove barriers to the free movement of persons and goods, while at the same time calling on member states, ‘to implement the application of the Revised Additional Act, on Rules of Community Origin, for the removal of both tariff and non-tariff barriers. ’