A Milestone in Integration: ECOSOCC concludes its national dialogue series on African Union's Free Movement Initiative


The African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) convened the third and final multi-stakeholder national dialogue series of the year on the Free Movement Protocol (FMP), from 12-13 September 2023.

The third edition hosted with the support of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Government, follows successful national dialogue series convened in March 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia and May 2023 in Port Louis, Mauritius. In 2022, ECOSOCC held regional Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) sensitization forums on the FMP in Ghana, Mozambique, and Morocco.

Increased mass migration and displacement within the African continent has spurred several policy frameworks to address and manage it. The African Union in particular has established two key policy frameworks to address, manage, and promote migration and mobility within the continent: the FMP and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA).

The FMP aims to curb and eventually eliminate barriers to regional border migration (to work, visit, trade, live, etc.) within the continent. Eliminating these barriers translates to economic growth on the continent as well as improved migration procedures for African citizens.

Unfortunately, despite the existence of migration policy frameworks, policy uptake among AU member states and their popularization within African civil society remains low and has not achieved the desired impact. ECOSOCC has taken up the mantle to popularise the frameworks.

Apart from the CSOs and policymakers that participated during the National Dialogue Series, a side-event drew participation from the Editors Forum. The editors were taken through a discussion on the Free Movement Protocol, the AfCFTA and the Agenda 2063.

The dialogue concluded with a roadmap/advocacy plan on the Free Movement Protocol. The plan will be consolidated with other Action Plans from other allotments of the National Dialogue Series to be convened on the continent so that it feeds into policy drafts from ECOSOCC.

The National Dialogue Series sets the stage for a proposed inaugural Parliamentarian Forum on the FMP scheduled for 2024.