In a notable move toward the implementation of the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community (AEC), distinguished representatives from the African Union (AU) paid a courtesy call on Joseph Whittal, Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
The purpose of the visit was to seek the Commission’s invaluable support for the ratification of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Free Movement of Persons, the Rights of Residence, and the Right of Establishment in Ghana.
The nine (9) member delegation led by Her Excellency, Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development, engaged Mr. Joseph Whittal, and Deputy Commissioner Mercy Larbi on the critical implications of ratifying the AEC Protocol on regional economic growth, human rights, and the realization of the African dream.
Ambassador Cessouma outlining the details of the AEC Protocol and highlighting its potential benefits for the region indicated that the protocol seeks to facilitate the free movement of persons across African borders, promote intra-African trade, investment, and economic development in other member states without undue restrictions. She added that ratifying the protocol and granting rights of residence and establishment to citizens of member states would also facilitate a conducive environment for businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive, thereby contributing to the continent’s socio-economic progress.
The Ambassador acknowledged the significant role of the CHRAJ Commissioner, who is the President of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa (NHRI-WA) as well as the Vice President of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), in the promotion of human rights in the sub-region and on the Continent as a whole. She, therefore, appealed to the Commissioner to push for the ratification of the AEC Protocol in Ghana and champion same across Africa.
In his remarks, Commissioner Joseph Whittal emphasized the importance of regional cooperation in fostering unity and development. He noted that the ratification of the AEC Protocol is a crucial step towards advancing the African Union’s agenda for economic integration and collective growth, which is closely linked to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Mr. Whittal said ratifying and domesticating the protocol would streamline visa procedures, enhance border management, and remove barriers that hinder the movement of skilled labour and entrepreneurs, ultimately promoting a conducive environment for trade and investment in Africa.
Mr. Whittal stressed that CHRAJ acknowledges the significance of the AEC Protocol, and considering the fact that Ghana serves as the secretariat of the AfCFTA, it is justified for the State to ratify the Protocol as a sign of its commitment to ensuring the free movement of goods and people within the continent. He, therefore, said the Commission would actively support the ratification and domestication of the AEC Protocol in Ghana. He further pledged to work collaboratively with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the AEC Protocol is ratified in Ghana.
Ghana’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, Her Excellency, Amma Twum–Amoah on behalf of the delegation, expressed her gratitude to the CHRAJ Commissioner for the warm reception and assurances to support their cause.
Other members of the delegation included Mme. Mariama Mohamed Cisse, Director, IOM Special Liaison Office to the African Union, Mr. Pamoussa Zackaria Konsimbo, Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development, Mr. King David Cartey, Strategic Communication Expert to the Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development, Mr. Kachi Madubuko, Senior Liaison Officer, IOM Special Liaison Office to the AU, Dr. Femi Olamuyiwa, Free Movement Protocol Officer, Mr. Eyob Assegedew, Project Assistant, African Union, and Ruth Dornoo, Regional Integration Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.