Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone to sign MOU for free movement of workers

By Patric Paintsil | Business & Financial Times, Ghana December 15, 2016

Ghana will today join Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that seeks to facilitate the free movement of skilled personnel within the sub-region as part of the Intra-African Talent Mobility Partnership Programme (TMP).

Ministers from the four states are expected to sign the MoU during an official signing ceremony to be witnessed by other ECOWAS member states, members of the diplomatic corps, the media and development partners notably the World Bank.

The signing of the MoU will facilitate the movement and employment of skilled persons and professionals among the state parties as well establish streamlined and transparent procedures for immigration application formalities for the temporary and permanent residence and employment of persons to whom the partnerships applies.

It will also eliminate explicit schemes that limit employment access to skilled persons and professionals across the state parties, enable signatories to adopt a common legislative and regulatory framework for granting residence and work permits and also protect the integrity of state parties’ borders.

The talent transfer regime has been endorsed by numerous experts and big employers as an effective solution to the teeming unemployment situation in the country and the West African sub-region.

President of the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), Alex Frimpong, told the B&FT in an interview that the partnership will create a pool of talents that can be shared across borders to help bridge the gap between industry and academia within the sub-region.

According to him, the programme will be a conduit for governments and private sector actors across the sub-region to fill skills gaps, generate extra revenue and improve cultural integration.

He said: “If arrangements can be made for excess talents in the country to get employment in other parts of the sub-region, I think that will be a very good initiative. We have abundance of talents in certain areas which all of them may not be directly needed in Ghana.

“This will be a major step in helping to solve the unemployment situation in the country and across the sub-region as trained professionals and graduates who do not find employment locally can fish for opportunities in other West African countries and vice-versa.”

Running for three years now, the TMP programme is a voluntary undertaking by selected African countries spearheaded by Mauritius in the Eastern and Southern Africa sub-regions and Ghana in West Africa.

The partnership seeks to establish Schengen-type or other similar mechanisms on talent mobility and skills development to accelerate economic integration and achieve open borders and common policies and laws in Africa.

The Partnership will support participating countries to address constraints on intra-African labour mobility and skills development gaps that reduce Africa’s attractiveness as an investment destination and related overall economic growth performance.

The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) is the sub-grantee and the Secretariat for the West African sub-regional programme.

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