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ECOWAS Card to Replace Travel Certificate 2016

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The Economic Community of West African States Biometric Identity Card will go into force in 2016, representing another step in the march to regional integration through unfettered movement of citizens, the ECOWAS Commission has said.

A communiqué at the end of the 73rd ordinary session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Abuja on Friday stated that the document would replace the travel certificate currently in use.

It explained that the new BIC would circulate alongside the National Identity Card in each member-state for a period of time until the institutionalisation of the new document within a specified timeframe.

The ECOWAS Commission said the ministers after considering the report of regional Heads of Immigration Services on the use of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card endorsed the new document for the approval of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, scheduled to meet in Abuja on Monday (today).

The council also considered the 2014 Annual Report of the Commission’s president, Kadré Ouédraogo, which provided positive growth forecasts with economic activity put at 5.3 per cent in 2014, compared to 4.8 per cent in 2013.

“The ECOWAS region continues to be Africa’s most dynamic regional economic community with expected growth rate of 6.3 per cent in 2014, with Côte d’Ivoire expected to record the highest growth rate of 9.1 per cent in the region,” the president said.

On the proposed Customs Union, the ECOWAS chief informed the council that necessary activities had been taken for the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff in all member-states from January 1, 2015.

Other reports examined by the ministers were those of the extraordinary meeting of ECOWAS health ministers, the Regional Strategic Framework for Private Sector Development, as well as the Memorandum on Guaranteed Investment Mechanism.

In her address at the closing ceremony, council chairperson and Ghana’s Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration minister, Hanna Tetteh, expressed profound gratitude to her colleagues for their quality contributions and the team spirit that characterised the session.

Meanwhile, the security situation in the sub-African region is one of the issues that will be on the agenda on Monday (today) as President Goodluck Jonathan hosts the 46th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Sunday, said the one-day summit would also review political situation in the region.

Abati said apart from receiving a briefing on recent developments in Burkina Faso, the summit would also elect the chairman of the body for next year.

President John Mahama of Ghana is its outgoing chairman.

“President Jonathan; the current Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President John Mahama of Ghana; the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, will present statements to the one-day summit before it goes into a closed-door session.

“A communiqué on the summit’s decisions is expected at the conclusion of their deliberations,” the statement noted.



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