The heads and experts on immigration of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are working on the implementation of the ECOVISA, a single visa system similar to the Schengen model.
In a statement issued on the website of the ECOWAS Commission, the Directorate of Free Movement of Persons and Migration organised the Seventh Heads of Immigration Meeting in Accra, Ghana, on May 25.
In an effort to enhance foreign investments, tourism and provide easier access to abundant opportunities within the region, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government adopted the introduction of ECOVISA in 2011.
The commission had been tasked with working towards the realisation of this visa for migrants of third countries.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the implementation of ECOVISA, related cost, design as recommended by experts in charge of visa issuance, and control drawn from member states.
The meeting was also expected to determine the way forward.
Its main objective was to enable a unified voice in addressing mobility and migration challenges within the region.
Furthermore, it served as a platform for representatives from national immigration services of member states to foster cooperation and coordination on matters relating to border and migration management in the region.
During the meeting, it was recommended that a comprehensive comparative analysis of visa regimes in other continents be conducted to ensure the implementation of ECOVISA aligned with global best practices.
Additionally, the heads of immigration recognised the need for regular engagement to discuss modalities and assess the progress of ECOVISA implementation at different stages.
These recommendations and decisions were based on the report provided by the ECOVISA experts who gathered ahead of the meeting in Accra on May 22 and 23.
The experts focused on visa design, visa regime, visa costs and other technical considerations necessary for the smooth implementation of ECOVISA.
However, it required a collective effort from all stakeholders and key actors involved in migration management within their respective countries. (NAN)