Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa

ILO is part of the consortium implementing the project funded by the EU under the 10th European Development Fund. The overall objective of the project is to maximize the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in West Africa. This will be done by supporting the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement of Persons’ Protocols, Labour and Employment Policy and Action plan adopted in 2009 and the ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration and ECOWAS Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons, first adopted in 2001.

ILO supports the ECOWAS Commission and Mauritania in implementing its policies (e.g., such as the Labour and Employment Policy and Action Plan adopted in 2009, and the Common Approach on migration) and builds capacities in the area of labour migration and counter-trafficking.

Through the project, the ILO works to:
  • Promote regional dialogue on labour migration within the framework of the Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue Forum and within the regional dialogue on free movement and migration (Migration Dialogue for West Africa, MDWA). An important focus is on building capacity and mobilizing engagement of the economic actors – social partners- in the implementation of free movement and its accompanying measures.
  • Improve labour market information systems and the coordination of the public employment services database for ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania. The availability of reliable information on the labour market is a prerequisite for effective free circulation.
  • Extend access to and coverage by social security for migrant workers, and the portability of social security entitlements. The ECOWAS General Convention on Social Security is a major step towards better coordination of national social security schemes in the region. Its full implementation coordination and cooperation needs to be enhanced in order to extend social security to migrant workers and their families in ECOWAS Member States.
  • Strengthen institutional capacity to combat trafficking in persons. ILO supports capacity building of ECOWAS staff, ECOWAS member states and Mauritania. ILO also supports the development of legislative frameworks, law enforcement mechanisms. Specific attention is being given to the mainstreaming of international standards into existing regional policy framework and the development of further regional policies and guidelines for combating trafficking in persons in West Africa.