Mobility within West Africa has long been recognized as key to the region’s social and economic development. Therefore, in an effort to further promote intra-regional migration, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) passed in 1979 the Protocol of Free Movement of Persons, the Right of Residence and Establishment. These Free Movement Protocols, as they are known, largely make up the legal framework that allows ECOWAS citizens to circulate and reside in other ECOWAS countries.
In January 2014, in collaboration with IOM Nigeria, the ACBC conducted a baseline immigration and border management survey of the ECOWAS Commission. The purpose of the study was to identify border management needs and priorities of the Commission, as related to the implementation of Free Movement Protocols, and come up with a set of recommendations towards strengthened implementation of these tools. The study was based on the analysis of existing documents, as well as interviews with ECOWAS and other relevant stakeholders based in Abuja.The final report contains recommendations under four distinct areas: legal and policy framework; institutional framework and coordination mechanisms; operations; and administration. It will be used to guide IOM’s follow up capacity building interventions and technical support to the ECOWAS Commission in the area of immigration and border management.