The Intergovernmental Authority on Development experts have praised Uganda for being the most open country in the region and 3rd in Africa to Africans visiting and seeking opportunities.
The regional block experts are currently in Kampala for a review of the protocol towards the Free Movement of Persons in the member countries including Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
The IGAD Ag. Director of Health and Social Development Division, Ms. Fathia Alwan quoted the African Development Bank and 2016 Visa Openness Report which both gave Uganda the best rankings.
“According to the African Development Bank and Africa Visa Openness Repot 2016, Uganda, our host, is the best performer and its ranking 3rd in the whole continent of Africa,” said Ms. Alwan.
She revealed that some of the countries in the region are “extremely” closed to the citizens of member states.
“While a few other IGAD member states could be categorized as visa open, some are extremely closed countries,” she added.
Official records show that Africans still need to acquire visas to enter the majority of the 54 countries in the continent.
“To date, Africans still need a visa to travel to travel to 55 percent of other African countries, 25 percent visa on arrival, and 25 percent abolished visa requirement for Africans,” she noted.
The Agreement Establishing IGAD (1986) in Articles 7 and 13 calls upon IGAD Member States to deepen regional integration through, among other things, creating a regime of free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment.
In 2012, IGAD launched the Regional Migration Policy Framework which further elaborates the actions of IGAD to deepen regional integration.
IGAD has also been part of the process towards the continental free movement regime by AU. Currently the urgency to create a well governed, orderly, safe and beneficial migration is justified due to continued rise of mixed migration movements in IGAD region and beyond.
Developed in the past decade, IGAD has a rigorous Migration Governance Architecture backed-up by strong policy instruments.
Migration at IGAD is thus addressed within the framework of the Regional Migration Policy Framework (RMPF) that is derived from the continental framework on Migration adopted in Banjul in 2006. The framework was adopted by the IGAD Council of Ministers in 2012 and has become the primary IGAD policy reference on migration.