IGAD eyes free visas for citizens in 8 member states

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IGAD eyes free visas for citizens in 8 member states
Lucy Daxbacher .

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has asked member states to abolish visas to ensure a free movement of persons in the region to stimulate trade, tourism, and to find safe places of aboard in the context of natural and man made disasters.

In this regard, citizens of IGAD will find a home wherever they want in these 8 member countries of the region economic community.

"A free movement region has a baseline indicator. A visa free region. Member states must enjoy themselves to waive off and abolish visas and the spirit of this Protocol is a visa free region not just in spirit but also in truth because it is also in the articles of protocol , " Lucy Daxbacher - EUTF Program Manager, Protocols on Free Movement of Persons and Transhumance observed.

As a shock absorber of the economic, movement, natural and man made disasters affecting citizens in the IGAD region, member states are on smart walk to deliver a visa free movement to its citizens across board.

With five countries now signatories to the IGAD' free movement protocol including Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, IGAD officials in a special interview have revealed that citizens will find a home in any of the member states in times of disasters or if they wish to.

"Member states will also provide work permits when citizens have secured jobs across the boarders. The protocol enjoys citizens to apply and be able to accept employment in any country of their choice or where they see work," Daxbacher added.

In this arrangement, the transhumance protocol of IGAD equally demands for free movement in the pastoral communities to deliver a shift from the normadic life to established lifestyle.

" Transhumance protocol is a framework that brings our population of the pastoral communities which are mobile communities across our boarders giving them some regularization and facilitation of cross boarder mobility to access water, pasture, resources and otger services, " Japheth Kasimbu, IGAD transhumance expert noted.

He added that protocol shall deliver orderly movement of the pastoral communities.

The contemporary statistics indicate that there is a tremendous population growth in the IGAD region from 124.7 million in 1990, to 281.7 million by 2019, with annual population growth rate staying above 2.6% across this period.

This growth in population signifies a expansive market and human resource hence a free movement can help address the employment queries in the region.

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