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ECOWAS pushes regional biometric ID card adoption to bring down travel, business barriers

ECOWAS pushes regional biometric ID card adoption to bring down travel, business barriers

Members of some women groups in border communities between Senegal and Guinea Bissau (the sene-Gambia zone) have received biometric national ID cards as part of a socio-economic empowerment drive.

The women received the ECOWAS Biometric National Identity Card (ENBIC) in a move that is fronted by the ECOWAS Commission and supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

According to a news release, the exercise which is in its pilot phase, seeks to facilitate movement and business transactions among women and other vulnerable persons in that border zone.

ECOWAS leaders, ten years ago, agreed on the implementation of a common biometric ID card as a way of enhancing travel and trade transactions among the 15 countries that make up the economic and political bloc in west Africa. at the 45th ordinary session, ECOWAS heads of state also stroke down the 90-day stay limitation, in favor of ENBIC.

As part of the activity in the Sene-Gambia area, ECOWAS’ Director of Free Movement of Persons and Migration Albert Siaw-Boateng headed a delegation which had a discussion with border officials at Mpack border (Senegal – Guinea-Bissau).

Speaking in lieu of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Siaw-Boateng emphasized the importance of the ID card and why its important for security agencies to strengthen intra-service collaboration.

Apart from the border officials, the ECOWAS team also had discussions with women groups around the border areas to sensitize them on the important role of owning valid identification documents which can facilitate their movement from one community to the other.

They encouraged the women and other members of border communities to go for the ENBIC which will facilitate their mobility and commercial transactions.

This comes at a time when ECOWAS leaders, meeting in their 46th ordinary summit, also mentioned the place of the ENBIC in enhancing regional trade and movement.

The ECOWAS Commission has been pushing for the adoption of the ENBIC, holding consultation and sensitization tours as well as workshops in some member countries including Cote d’Ivoire and The Gambia.

At the close of last year, the ECOWAS Commission announced it was seeking a consultant to design a transition roadmap for the biometric ID card project.

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