President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode CON., SAN has commended the African Union over the planned roll out of guidelines on issuance of African passports, lauding the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat for providing exceptional leadership on the project.
Mahamat had announced that the Commission will next month present for adoption, guidelines on the design, production and issuance of the African passport, the materialization of which will take the continent one step closer to the long-held dream of complete free movement across the continent.
While reacting to the development, Prince Kayode in a statement he personally signed stated that the passport project is in furtherance of AU’s protocol which made s for the right to enter and exit member states, subject to the states’ laws and procedures.
The passport project will expand and enhance freedom to travel and move goods across the continent, affirming, “this will be a great stride to boost the economic integration of Africa.
“This laudable initiative could not have come at a time better than now. This is a time when the continent is trying to get integrated using the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Continental free trade zone can only be easily achieved when free movement is guaranteed. I am optimistic that the free movement of persons, goods and services will tremendously and directly impact on the progress that sub-regional zones have attempted to make on the issue of harvesting the opportunities in migration.
“It is no longer a secret that free movement of people from regions of their indigeneship to others has created healthy economic cooperation and development. It has lowered average rate of unemployment in other climes. For example, in Europe about 6% unemployment rate was recorded due to free movement within the European Union (EU). Equally, a report by the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) says free movement has resulted in better institutions and better economic management in Eastern Europe”, he noted.
While rolling out more statistics, the ACCI President emphasized that there is a great deal of evidence that such free movement boosts the economies of receiving countries as well as services the home countries saying such development can be expected to enhance business and investment.
While drumming support for the passport project the ACCI president said the introduction of the African passport was expected to bring about increased migration of Africans within Africa, and pave the way for the AU’s 2063 Agenda for “a continent with seamless borders” to help facilitate the free movement of African citizens.
“I know, for sure, that the entire continent will benefit from this and we will operate as one economic bloc. It is a large market which all of us need to access to mutually benefit our countries and enhance shared prosperity”, he concluded.