The move was agreed when the Director of Policy Advisory Services at the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), Dr. Ed Brown, visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, Honorable Ms. Hanna Tetteh at her office in Accra last week.
At the bilateral level, the Minister also agreed to initiate discussions with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of African Integration and Ivoirians in the Diaspora to integrate TMP within the framework of the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC).
A high-level PJCC session has been scheduled for October in Accra. The two countries have strong economic and cultural ties across the common border that could spur on more bilateral cooperation.
During the 16 August meeting, intended to seek the Minister’s support and win political buy-in, Dr. Brown briefed Minister Tetteh on the progress of the TMP programme in Ghana and invited her to the signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the four pilot countries Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone. The MOU will be signed during the Ordinary Session of ECOWAS in December at Abuja.
ACET is the TMP program secretariat and sub-grantee for the West Africa program, and therefore securing political buy-in has been a central strategy for the sustainability of the Intra-African Talent Mobility Partnership (TMP) programme by national governments.
According to ACET’s Dr. Brown, considerable progress has been made since TMP’s inception in 2014, including identifying and contextualizing the institutional, legal and regulatory gaps in labour market and immigration systems.
As a result, two key policy documents developed to inform talent mobility and labour market policy decisions in the ECOWAS region are the draft MoU and a harmonized sub-regional priority areas policy document, both aimed at influencing the direction and focus of TMP in subsequent years.
In her response, Minister Tetteh described TMP as “an important initiative” for regional integration and affirmed her commitment to support its sustainability in Ghana. She indicated that the development objective of TMP is consonant with the ECOWAS initiatives and would help to accelerate the implementation of ECOWAS Protocols on the Free Movement of Persons, Residence and Establishment, and the Convention of Recognition of Equivalence in Education.
The TMP is a voluntary undertaking by selected African countries, spearheaded by Mauritius, to establish Schengen-type mechanisms on talent mobility and skills development. The Schengen Agreement covers 26 European countries that have voluntarily abolished border restrictions.
It is believed that a similar open-border policy would accelerate economic integration and the attainment of common policies in Africa.
The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) is an economic policy institute supporting Africa’s long-term growth through transformation. Its vision is to support an economically transformed Africa within a generation.