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Rwanda To Host Meeting To Discuss Opening Up ‘African Borders’

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Rwanda will host the second member states Experts’ Meeting on the Draft Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in Africa beginning tomorrow, an event organised by Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the African Union Commission.

The meeting, scheduled to take place from May 23 to 26, 2017, at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, is organized under the theme: “Free movement of people in Africa is fundamental pillar for the continent integration process.”
The African Union’s initiative to draft the protocol on free movement of persons in Africa is a major step in the materialization of the African vision of the free movement of persons.

It will be aiming at the development and adoption of the AU protocols on free movement of persons in the continent through harmonization of different national and regional policies in the areas of visa regimes, residence permits and the right to establishment aimed at facilitating free movement of persons a prerequisite to the process of Africa’s integration.

The meeting will bring together senior government officials from the AU Member States that are concerned with the issue of movements of persons in their respective countries and subsequently, provide critical observations and recommendations on the draft of the protocol and its implementation framework.

However, the draft protocol will be considered and adopted by AU Heads of State and Governments during the AU Summit in January 2018.

Experts in the meeting are expected to critically consider the draft protocol on free movement of persons to be submitted for consideration at ministerial level.
The statement reads that member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are expected to take up the issue on the free movement of persons in Africa for in-house works in preparation for the January 2018 African Union Summit.

The idea is that, free movement of persons is central to the integration of the continent and cannot be separated from other regional integration initiatives including economic integration, common policies on co-operation and the common policy on security.

African Heads of States have agree that it is difficult to achieve freedom of movement of goods and services and continental integration while there are still restrictions on the movement of persons across the continent, and thus a call for action to open up doors.

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