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ECOWAS biometric identity card operational in Jan
 
 
The ECOWAS biometric Identity Card, which aims at facilitating mobility and promoting security in the region, will become operational this January. The identity card will help to ensure freedom of movement across the sub-region.
 
     
  Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, Vice President of ECOWAS Commission who announced this at the 35th Meeting of the West African Monetary Zone convergence Council, said considerable progress was also made during the year in establishing the Customs Union.

He said the ECOWAS Common External Tariff regime effectively commenced on January 1, 2015 in eight member-states, and implementation of the scheme in the remaining countries is expected to commence this year.

'Renewed efforts are also being made to ensure effective implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme,' he said. On the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between the European Union and West Africa, Dr. McIntosh said 13 out of the 15 member-states had now signed the agreement. He expressed hope that the remaining two will sign the agreement soon.

Dr. McIntosh said despite these achievements, the challenges from ineffective implementation of the community protocols and conventions, especially free movement of goods and persons and rights of residence and establishment, remain untackled.

He said the non-compliance by some member-states with provisions of the community levy scheme and the fragile political and security situation existing in some member-states, which is inimical to inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, are also concerns. Dr. McIntosh said the ECOWAS Commission remains committed to the monetary integration agenda and sustainable development of the community.

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