ECOWAS to issue new biometric cards for inter-border movement
THE cross-border initiative programme of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may begin to bear fruit next year as the community has planned to issue biometric cards in January 2016.
The cards will grant easier access to citizens of ECOWAS member-states across the region. ECOWAS Vice President, Toga Gayewea McIntosh, who gave this hint while speaking with journalists during the 10th meeting of the Strategic Planning Co-ordinating Committee (SPCC) held in Lagos, said leaders of member-states have already approved the implementation of Common External Tariff (CET).
He said: “You will no longer need to carry your passport when travelling within the region, McIntosh said. Furthermore, SPCC members have met to finalise and adopt the first working draft of the Community Strategic Frame-work (CSF) that would guide the process of community development programmes between 2016 and 2020.”
He said the previous efforts were challenged by poor co-ordination, lack of synchronisation and evaluation of development programmes, adding that most member-states did not buy into the programmes. “These problems were exacerbated by low capacity”, he said. Learning from the mistakes of the past, he said the new frame-work is comprehensive enough to address the challenges.
According to him, the new frame-work allows for participation of various stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations and the media. He, therefore, promised that the programmes and projects of the committee would be more visible to the people in order to build the ECOWAS of the people, noting that the region has improved in the area of security than before.