NIGERIA,ECOWAS Commission to deepen regional integration, create proof of identification

  • 10 April 2023 / News / 399 / Admin-23

NIGERIA,ECOWAS Commission to deepen regional integration, create proof of identification

ECOWAS Commission to deepen regional integration, create proof of identification

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has launched the West Africa Unique Identification for Regional Integration and Inclusion (WURI) programme.

The programme is part of efforts to deepen regional inclusion and identification of citizens of member states across the region.

The initiative, a multi-phase programme financed by the World Bank, is implemented by the governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and Togo, and the ECOWAS Commission.

While the overall Programme Development Objective (PrDO) was signed Wednesday in Lagos, the first phase of the recognised proof of unique identity that facilitates access to services has already been implemented by the government of Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.

The programme is built around the ECOWAS Protocol of Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment and is designed in two phases with a combined financing of $395.1 million.

Despite the high level of intra-regional mobility within the countries, ECOWAS noted that about 196 million people (roughly 53 per cent of the population) do not have proof of identification.

To ease movement through the WURI programme, an inaugural meeting of the supervisory committee was held in Lagos with representatives of the ECOWAS, the World Bank and other stakeholders in attendance.

Speaking at the event, ECOWAS Commissioner, Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Massandjé Toure-Litse, noted that the ECOWAS Commission’s commitment to the WURI programme is motivated by the fact that it aligns with the institution’s Strategic Objectives (2022-2026) Enablers relative to Equitable Partnerships that is hinged on Resources Mobilisation and Building Convergence around Priority Programmes and Projects in the region.

“As we already know, the WURI programme seeks to address the gaps in people’s identification in a more sustainable digitised manner and to use these ID platforms to facilitate access to services both within and across the participating Member States,” the official noted.

On his part, the World Bank Representative, Christian Bodewig, revealed that the WURI initiative adopted a regional vision from its very conception, taking into account the high level of intra-regional mobility in the ECOWAS region.

“In order to facilitate the free movement of people within the ECOWAS region, it will require means to identify oneself away from”home “. To that end, the Program aims to facilitate access to services by providing proof of government-recognized identity in participating countries,” he said.