Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Conducts Advocacy on the Deployment of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card in Cabo Verde

In 2014, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government endorsed the machine-readable ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC) as the official travel document to replace the previous hand-written ECOWAS Travel Certificate. This transition was aimed at enhancing safe, secure, and well-organized intra-regional mobility within the ECOWAS region.

In order to promote the ENBIC and facilitate its successful implementation, the ECOWAS Commission initiated advocacy and sensitization campaigns in Member States. These campaigns were aimed at both Community Citizens and Border Officials to educate them about the functionalities and advantages of the Biometric Card. Consequently, six countries have now completed the full deployment of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card. These countries, in the order of their implementation, include Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Benin, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone.

The Directorate of Free Movement of Persons and Migration has initiated a fresh sensitization initiative with the primary objective of improving awareness regarding free movement and migration within the ECOWAS region. This campaign also aims to outline the advantages and opportunities associated with the ECOWAS integration agenda. Furthermore, the drive intends to (1) encourage Member States to accelerate the deployment and issuance of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card and (2) support existing advocacy initiatives to ensure a sustained reduction of irregular migration cases among others.

On the 11th of June 2024, a delegation from the ECOWAS Commission conducted an advocacy and a sensitization mission in Praia, Cabo Verde. During this mission, the delegation engaged with representatives from Registry, Notary, and Identification of the Ministry of Justice, as well as members of the Directorate of Foreigners and Borders from the National Police of Cabo Verde, operating under the Ministry of Internal Administration.

Mr. Albert Siaw-Boateng, the Director of Free Movement of Persons and Migration and leader of the delegation, represented Commissioner Mrs. Massandje Toure-Litse for Economic Affairs and Agriculture. The primary objective of the mission he said, was to assess the progress made by the Cabo Verdean authorities towards the deployment of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC) system.

Mr. Juvenal Pereira, President of the Implementation Team of the National Civil Identification and Authentication System of Cabo Verde, informed that his country already possesses a functioning national identification card system. “However, to align with ENBIC standards, a legal review process would be necessary”, he added. He also mentioned that the ultimate decision to adopt ENBIC is political, and he expressed confidence that, should the political decision be made, his team would work diligently to ensure the convergence of Cabo Verde’s National ID card system with the ECOWAS ENBIC model.

The Director of Free Movement reiterated the mission’s goal and urged the Cabo Verdean authorities to commence the deployment of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card within the country. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of boosting the card’s recognition and acceptability from the six Member States that have successfully implemented the ENBIC. Furthermore, he pointed out that Cabo Verde is a signatory to the adoption of the ECOWAS National Biometric ID Card.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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