Immigration officials discuss African passport

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Some of the participants at the National Planning Authority and African Union commission workshop on integrating Africa agenda 2063 into Uganda’s planning frameworks at Fairway Hotel in Kampala November 22, 2018. Photos by Sylvia Katushabe

DIPLOMACY|SECURITY

The African Union (AU) intends to bring together immigration officials from member countries to discuss the security features of the proposed African passport.

Free movement of persons and introduction of an African passport is among the 14 flagship projects the AU heads of state agreed to pursue under the 2063 agenda. Launched in 2014, the agenda was conceived in 2013 when the AU heads of state celebrated the union’s 50th anniversary.

The 13 flagship projects include integrated high speed train network, development of the grand Inga hydro power (42,000MW) dam, continental free trade area, Pan-African virtual and e-university, African economic platform, single African air transport market, continental financial institutions, Pan-Africa e-network and silencing guns by 2020. The others are; African outer space strategy, the great museum of Africa, African commodities strategy and cyber security.

Charles Wangadya, a policy officer in the strategic policy planning, monitoring, evaluation and resource mobilisation division at AU,  Thursday morning said, the union will facilitate a meeting of the immigration officials from the 55 member countries to discuss and agree on security features for the proposed African passport next month.

“There is political will to have a single passport for Africa,” he added.

This comes days after Uganda announced that it will roll out the new East African electronic passports on January 15, 2019, and that all the current machine readable (passports) shall be phased out in 2021. This deadline will apply to all East African Community (EAC) countries. But there is no deadline for the African passport yet.

“It is okay for the regional blocks to start getting own passports and it indicates that we are on track. But regional passports will be replaced by the continental passport when it is finally rolled out,” he added during a meeting to popularise the AU 2063 agenda.

 harles angadya  policy officer trategic olicy lanning onitoring valuation and esource obolization  discusses with assim hamis senior expert irectorate of trategic lanning and frican nion ommission during the workshopCharles Wangadya (L), policy officer Strategic Policy Planning, Monitoring Evaluation and Resource Mobolization (SPPMERM) discusses with Kassim Khamis, senior expert Directorate of Strategic Planning and African Union Commission, during the workshop

 
The meeting, which took place at Fairway hotel in Kampala, was attended by economists and planners from various government departments and institutions, including the National Planning Authority (NPA).

The agenda is a framework for the socioeconomic transformation of the continent over a period of 50 years, with its guiding vision being; an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena. It is planned to be implemented in five 10-year phases.

Kassim M. Khamis, a senior expert from the planning directorate of the office of the AU Commission chairperson, explained that progress has been on some of the flagship projects, including preliminary activities for development of the Inga hydropower dam.

He said, DR Congo and South Africa have signed cooperation agreements for electricity purchase from the proposed Africa’s largest power generation facility.

Khamis said the current AU chair, Paul Kagame, also Rwandan president, has been tasked by the union’s assembly heads of state to reform the organisation.

“We have asked AU chairman to take AU to member states so that people can understand and implement the AU agenda,” he added.

The acting NPA chairman, Godfrey Okot, said Uganda will integrate aspects of the AU agenda in the National Development Plan III. “We should have the NPDIII ready by May and a big part of the AU agenda will be part of it,” he added.

Vincent Operemo, a senior economist at NPA said Uganda is already implementing AU in various aspects.

“All the infrastructural projects we are undertaking like power generation and railway are part of the AU agenda. Connecting Africa by high speed railway means, for example, linking Uganda to the standard gauge railway in Kenya,” he stated.  

NewVision.co.ug

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