Opening Up Africa for Africans: A Proposal In Support of the Protocol for the Free Movement of Persons

Regional integration remains a top priority for the African Union (AU). In an effort to foster free movement and promote integration, peace, and unity at the continental level, a common AU passport was launched in 2016 aimed at this end. In 2018, two years after the initiation of the AU passport, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Free Movement of Persons Protocol (FMP) were adopted by the AU as one of the key aims of its Agenda 2063. Unlike its counterpart, the AfCFTA, the FMP Protocol has not been successful in gaining support and enthusiasm from the majority of AU member states. In fact, since its adoption, of the 33 countries that agreed to the proposal, only four member states (Mali, Niger, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe) have fully ratified the Protocol. The much larger nations, such as Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, and Ethiopia, have not yet ratified.1 The reasons for this lack of enthusiasm have to do with member states’ concerns with issues of security, border management, and economic imbalances.2 Tackling the overt and covert reasons behind the hesitancy of member states to ratify the protocol will be key to moving its agenda forward. Read more about it here:

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