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Africa: ECOWAS, World Bank hold 10th WURI coordination committee meeting

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission and the World Bank in collaboration with the West Africa Unique Identification for Regional Integration and Inclusion (WURI) Pilot Member States, have organized the 10th WURI Coordination Committee meeting.

The meeting which was held virtually had the Project Coordinators and technical staff of all WURI Pilot Member States with the exception of Côte d’Ivoire in attendance. The Director of Free Movement of Persons and Migration who is the Coordinator for the ECOWAS project, Mr. Albert Siaw-Boateng, the World Bank Regional Task Team Leader, Mrs. Tina George and their respective team members also participated in the meeting.

WURI pilot Member States present (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and Togo) and the ECOWAS Commission each briefed on the status of implementation and it was observed that countries are at varied levels of implementation. Notable achievements include the drafting of the bill to be voted into law for the identification of persons, the enrolment of vulnerable persons and the issuance of a unique identification number (UNI) to persons enrolled in some Member States.

At the level of ECOWAS Commission, the project is on track as significant milestones were achieved. Ongoing key assignments related to the development of Stakeholders’ Engagement Strategy, Interoperability Strategy, Monitoring and Evaluation framework and Visibility Plan, Advocacy and Communication Strategy have all been endorsed by the World Bank. The World Bank also approved the 2022 End-of-year Project Reports, the 2023 Annual Work Plan & Budget and accompanying Procurement Plan.

The meeting also noted that some Member States are yet to officially set up their technical committee with the responsibility of advising on technical matters relating to cross-border interoperability of foundation identification (fID) systems and mutual recognition of fID credentials. Coordinators were encouraged to intensify their efforts on advocacy on the setting up of these important committees.

The meeting also validated the Concept Note and draft agenda of the Maiden Supervisory Committee Meeting of the WURI project scheduled to hold on April 4, 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria.

In closing the meeting, the World Bank promised to provide the necessary support to fast-track implementation of the programme.

The WURI is a multi-phase programme financed by the World Bank and implemented by Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and Togo, and the ECOWAS Commission, with the objective to increase the number of persons in participating countries who have government-recognized proof of unique identity that enables access to services. Specifically, the Commission aims to foster regional dialogues and cooperation for cross-border mutual recognition of foundational identity systems for access to services.

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