Civil society urged to promote African Union’s Free Movement Protocol
African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in eastern and southern Africa have been prompted to support and promote the implementation of the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol (FMP) and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA).
The call to action to CSOs was made during the opening of the second Regional CSO Sensitization Forum on the Continental Free Movement Protocol organized by the AU Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The FMP and the MPFA have been established by the AU as the primary policy frameworks to address, manage, and promote migration and mobility on the continent.
The FMP, in particular, aims to curb and eventually eliminate barriers to regional border migration (to work, visit, trade, live, etc.) within the continent. Eliminating these barriers translates to economic growth on the continent as well as improved migration procedures for African citizens.
Unfortunately, despite the existence of these migration policy frameworks, policy uptake among AU member states and their popularization within African civil society remains low and has not achieved the desired impact.
Officially opening the forum, through a keynote address, Mozambique’s Ambassador to the AU, Alfredo Nuvunga, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, Veronica Dlhovo, said despite a number of challenges characterized by the dynamics the world was currently experiencing, free movement of people was a fundamental element for the development and well-being of nations.
“These challenges should not intimidate us in opening our borders, on the contrary, they should encourage us in the coordinated search for collective measures both at regional and continental levels for the establishment of an increasingly integrated and prosperous continent,” he said.
Nuvunga explained that at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) level, Free Movement was the subject of consideration by the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (CMO) meeting in August 2016, in Maputo, having recommended a gradual approach, safeguarding the sovereignty of states, guaranteeing the existence of peace, security and stability on the continent and convergence between member states, in order to reduce economic imbalances.
He emphasized that the involvement of civil society would broaden the field of analysis in order to allow all social segments to review the implementation of the protocol.