Technical and administrative conditions of the agreement must be in place before nations will be able to manage the free movement of people.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea favors full implementation of the Free Movement Agreement of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) Area, and will support efforts of CEMAC countries to implement all conditions and technical requirements leading to an eventual free movement of persons among the signatory states, the government said in a statement issued yesterday.
The government of Equatorial Guinea decided not to apply the agreement in its territory during a meeting of the Council of Ministers on November 8. The government explained afterward that there are still several requirements and condition—to be carried out in stages—that CEMAC States must meet and comply with. In addition, the agreement must be approved by both houses of Equatorial Guinea’s Parliament.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Agapito Mba Mokuy summoned the Ambassadors of the CEMAC countries accredited in Equatorial Guinea to a meeting at the foreign ministry on November 11 to explain the government’s position.
The Minister explained that Equatorial Guinea's position is that because the recommendations that were made by the Heads of State of the CEMAC zone have not yet been fully implemented, it would be premature for the agreement to enter into force. Many of the requirements are intended to prepare the way for the orderly free movement of persons. Until they are in effect, the area risked a chaotic movement of people.
The agreement requires the development of a CEMAC biometric passport in the different diplomatic, official and service categories; the creation of model of CEMAC visas for third countries; the acquisition of equipment in all the land, sea and air borders of the community capable of reading biometric passports; the creation of a monitoring and evaluation committee on immigration; the construction of a cooperation center for police and customs for the exchange of information in order to facilitate and monitor the movements of people; the creation of a monitoring committee made up of border police from civil society, territorial administration, and regional integration and the CEMAC Commission that would assess the community decisions and human behavior; and the creation of a data-collection center to facilitate criminal investigations at the borders.
The Government also believes it is essential to establish the required committee of police chiefs of Central Africa, whose purpose is to assess the difficulties related to free movement of persons within the CEMAC area.
Finally, the Government believes it is necessary to organize a training program for law enforcement and security forces in the member countries in order to strengthen their capacities in management and migration issues.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea has consistently favored integration in Central Africa and across the African continent and has been a leading proponent of cooperation within CEMAC.