Monday February 12, 2018
MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The African Union supports the free movement of persons in the continent and will continue working with regional economic blocs to achieve the objective, an official said on Monday.
Simon Mulongo, deputy special representative of the chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, said the pan-African body is working with various stakeholders to come up with mechanisms to ensure free movement of persons across the continent.
A statement from the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said Mulongo was speaking in Mogadishu during the launch of a four-day national consultations workshop on free movement of persons by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Mulongo welcomed the IGAD's initiative, saying the move will help boost trade and economic integration in the region.
The eight-member regional bloc is currently working toward making the free movement of persons a reality in the 5.2 million square km trade bloc.
The bloc said similar consultations are also being held in other member states and once finalized the views gathered will be used in formulating the IGAD Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, aimed at boosting trade and security in the region.
The trade bloc, which was established in 1996 to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development, brings together Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.
The workshop started on Sunday in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Senior federal government officials of Somalia, representatives of the federal member states, civil society organizations, academia and members of the international community attended the workshop.