Intergovernmental Authority on Development ( IGAD) on Sunday launched a four-day national consultations workshop on free movement of persons in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Representative from eight states are attending the conference to gather views from local stakeholders and experts on the benefits and barriers of free movement of persons.
Speaking during the launching of the comsultations, Permanent Secretary in Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ali Mohamed Ali, pointed out the need for free movement of person within as improve improve the interaction of the poeple.
“We believe that the free movement of persons and goods is important to all the countries given that it will spur development. We all know how the European Union started and how people can now move by only using their identity cards,” said Ali.
Mr. Ali noted that once formulated, IGAD Protocol on Free Movement of Persons will benefit Somalia and reiterated the governments support and commitment to the initiative.
Jamaludin Mustafa Omar, the Chairman of the IGAD Council of Ambassadors appealed to the delegates to take the four-day workshop seriously and generate positive outcomes.
“This free movement of persons will help reduce poverty, and where people can move freely, there are opportunities which increase the potential for people to send back home remittances and change the lives of the people they left behind,” Ambassador Omar explained.
Permanent Secretary in Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ali Mohamed Ali
The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, who also spoke at the worshop has emphasized African Union’s commitment to achieving the free movement of persons on the continent
The meeting in Mogadishu is being attended by senior federal government of Somalia officials, representatives of the federal members states, civil society organizations, academia and members of the international community.
Similar consultations are also being held in other member states aimed at taking concrete steps towards making the free movement of persons a reality in the 5.2 million square kilometer-trade bloc.
After conclusion of the views gathering, the bloc will formulate he IGAD Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, aimed at boosting trade and security in the region.
The trade bloc, which was established in 1996 to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), brings together Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.