The ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has announced it will organize a Sectoral Ministers virtual meeting on the reopening of land borders in the region to facilitate the free movement of persons.

In a statement issued by the regional body on December 3, 2021, it said Sectorial Ministers in charge of Regional Integration, Interior, Trade, Health, Transport and Finance from Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are therefore scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on 6th December 2021 in order to deliberate on measures to ensure the coordinated, safe, secure and orderly reopening of borders in the region.

The Ministers are expected to validate the report and recommendations made by technical experts which outlined the essential practical modalities to be put in place for the implementation of the ECOWAS COVID-19 directives on hygiene measures for the gradual and coordinated reopening of borders.

ECOWAS and the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU), through their Member States, are committed to the reopening of borders to facilitate the movement of people and goods, and to define measures to revive regional trade and supply chains between the Member States.

The gradual reopening of the borders already begun by the States requires good coordination between the States and the land-based actors in charge of border control in order to apply the community texts on the free movement of people and goods in the context of the existing health and security crisis.

It may be recalled that the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government charged the ECOWAS Commission to work with the Member States and West African Health Organization (WAHO) on the modalities to accelerate the reopening of land borders in a safe manner during the pandemic in line with the agreed ECOWAS Harmonized Guidelines for the Free Movement of People and Goods.

By:Isaac Clottey

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