State attorneys validate TMP West Africa MoU

Senior state attorneys and representatives of various government ministries met in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, last week to validate a legal agreement between West African countries participating in the Intra-African Talent Mobility Partnership (TMP) programme.

The Legal Validation Workshop of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the West Africa TMP programme took place from September 5 to 6 and was organized by the African Center for Economic Transformation’s (ACET’s) TMP West Africa secretariat.

The two-day workshop was the last of several meetings of the regional working group spanning three years. The working group is made up of senior government officials from TMP participating countries, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone. West African heads of state are expected to sign the MoU in December.

Presided over by ACET’s Director of Policy Advisory Services, Dr. Ed Brown, the highly participatory workshop brought together 20 participants, including senior state attorneys and representatives from ministries of finance, regional integration, labour and immigration.

Workshop Aims and Outputs 

The workshop had the following aims:
  • Conclude technical discussions on the provisions of each article of the MoU, referring to relevant ECOWAS protocols on Free Movement, Right of Entry, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment, the legal framework information and the analytical text;
  • Receive all comments and legal revisions provided by national participating governments;
  • Review provisions under each article and the MoU schedule of commitments in relation to border management, work permits, mutual recognition and social security portability.
The workshop had the following outputs and outcomes:
  • The contributions of national governments were incorporated into the final revised version of the MoU;
  • It built consensus among participants on the waiver of permit fees;
  • It achieved harmonization of work permit durations;
  • It called for secure effective national political will for implementation of the MOU.

Welcome and Opening Session

The welcome address of the Côte d’Ivoire Minister of African Integration and Ivoiriens Abroad, His Excellency Ally Coulibaly, was delivered by Prof. Wautabouna Ouattara, who doubled as the Chairman of Côte d’Ivoire’s TMP National Working Group as well as the Director General at the Ministry of African Integration. Prof. Ouattara expressed the strong commitment of the Côte d’Ivoire Government to achieve the TMP development objective. This is to address constraints on intra-African labour mobility and skills development gaps that reduce Africa’s attractiveness as an investment destination, affecting overall economic performance.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Ed Brown drew attention to the significance of participants’ contributions and discussion for finalization of the MoU. Dr. Brown urged the senior legal experts present to bring to bear their tremendous legal expertise in reviewing the MoU in a manner that would be acceptable to all participating governments.

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. ACET serves as the secretariat for the West Africa sub-region.



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