West Africa: Free Movement in the ECOWAS Region

Is there free movement of transport between The Gambia and Senegal? Foroyaa has been reliably informed that after granting reasonably free access by Gambian transports, especially passenger vehicles into Senegal, problems emerged on the 10th January 2020 which resulted in the denial of free access to commercial vehicles from The Gambia including GTSC buses.

Foroyaa will speak to the transport unions of both countries to find out what is being done to facilitate an amicable settlement of this conflict.

Readers would recall that in May 1979, the Ecowas member states adopted their first protocol on the free movement of persons guaranteeing entry, residence and conducting economic activities in the territory of other member states, implementation of this right has been somewhat slow despite the fact that Ecowas citizens now have Ecowas passports and travel certificates. In terms of policy, Ecowas states have been implementing measures to ease the movement of commercial and private vehicles into each other's territory and even guarantee their stay for up to 90 days in case of private vehicles and 15 days in case of commercial vehicles. Insurance is also provided to motor vehicles to cover liabilities in the respective countries. It is therefore important that Ecowas states take charge in sensitising their citizens of the protocols so as to facilitate their harmonious implementation. Transport unions of the respective countries should engage their authorities and encourage them to adopt policies that would guide the unions in particular and the transport operators in general. The sooner this is done conflicts among the citizens will be avoided.

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