Politics

ECOWAS directs all member countries to open borders on July 1st

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has drawn a roadmap for the reopening of borders in the sub-region.

Borders in the ECOWAS region have been closed for weeks due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

But after a meeting of the Ministerial Coordination Committee for Transport, Logistics and Trade of the ECOWAS, the sub-regional Bloc has taken a “harmonised decision” to reopen borders.

The reopening would be done in phases as pointed out in a statement by ECOWAS after a four days videoconference.

Phases

“A meeting of the Ministerial Coordination Committee for Transport, Logistics and Trade of the ECOWAS has just ended. It took place over 4 days by videoconference.

The objective is to provide a coordinated response to the fight against the coronavirus and to examine the possibility of reopening the borders,” the statement said.

It added that “Several options have been put forward with the opening of land and air borders according to a precise schedule.”

The first phase, called ‘internal’, consists of reopening domestic airports and lifting restrictions on land transportation within ECOWAS member states in late June 2020, it said.

“The second phase is based on widening the opening between member states to allow the free movement of goods and people. The proposed date is the first fortnight of July (July 15 at the latest),” it noted.

“Finally, the ECOWAS offers the opening of air and land borders to other countries (excluding ECOWAS) that do not have very high levels of Covid-19 contamination rate from the second half of July (July 31, 2020 at the latest) ).”

“This opening, specifies the organization, will be a function of the evolution of the pandemic within the member countries of the ECOWAS and of the other countries and will be the subject of a periodic evaluation.”

“These are recommendations that will need to be endorsed by heads of state.

Options considered

1) July 1 land borders

2) July 15 air borders: UEMOA / ECOWAS flights only

3) July 22 all African flights

4) August 1 all intercontinental flights.”

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