Job Opening

Posting Title: RITD/RINS - Policy and Advocacy Officer
Department/Office: Economic Commission for Africa
Duty Station: ADDIS ABABA
Posting Period: 07 December 2021 - 13 December 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-Economic Commission for Africa-170095-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

IV. Results Expected:

• Production of analytically sound and policy relevant briefs and reports on issues of free movement of persons and related regional integration issues
• Production of a Strategy document on untangling the factors that contribute to low levels of enthusiasm towards encouraging free movement of persons, rights of settlement and rights of establishment
• Successful and impactful policy advocacy towards the ratification and subsequent implementation of the protocol on Free Movement of Persons
• Successful facilitation of policy dialogues that will lead to a better understanding and internalization of the protocol on free movement of persons, including on how it can leverage experiences at RECs level.

Work Location

Home based

Expected duration

This consultancy will be for a period of 6 (SIX) months upon signature of contract.

Duties and Responsibilities

Org. Setting and Reporting:

This position is located in the Regional Integration Section, within the Regional Integration and Trade Division. The Policy and Advocacy Officer would report directly to the Chief of the Regional Integration Section and under the overall guidance of the Director of Regional Integration and Trade (RITD).

I. Background

Regional integration is considered an important and necessary strategy to overcome the lack of economic competitiveness of African countries’ individual national economies, partly because of their smallness – a product of the fragmentation of the continent by external actors in the late 1800’s. An enduring feature in Africa’s integration agenda over the years has been the desire to establish a ‘borderless’ continent that would allow for the free movement of goods and services, as well as facilitate seamless intra-continental migration. In other words, African leaders’ integration aspiration has been to connect not just African economies/markets, but, crucially also, African people. The aspiration for an integrated and borderless African continent has been backed by the signing and adoption of a myriad of protocols, frameworks, and conventions both at the continental and regional levels. These regional and continental frameworks clearly recognize the interlinkages between trade/economic integration on the one hand, and the free movement of people on the other hand, even as there seems to be marked disparities in the level of enthusiasm afforded the integration of people in comparison to the integration of markets. This requires special and dedicated attention to ensure that Africa’s integration agenda progresses in a holistic manner that leaves no one and no component of society behind.

At the subregional level, various regional economic communities (RECs) have put in place frameworks to promote the free movement of goods, services and people. ECOWAS set the pace in 1979 when it adopted its Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, goods and Services, less than five years after the signing of the Treaty Establishing the Community in 1975. The Protocol provided for a 15-year, three-phased approach to the implementation of the rights of entry, residence, and establishment of business, respectively. Implementation commenced in 1980 and within five years, visas and entry permits were abolished for all ECOWAS citizens. Implementation of the second phase, on the right of residence commenced in 1986 after the full ratification of the Protocol by all Member States. The implementation of the third phase, on the right to establish a business, has been held back by a combination of political, economic, and national interest considerations, as well as the protocol’s weak legal framework.

On its part, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) adopted the Protocol on Facilitating the Movement of Persons in 2005. It sets out to progressively eliminate barriers to movement of persons, goods, capital, and services amongst its Member States. However, implementation has been stalled as majority of member States have not yet ratified the protocol. Free movement of persons in the SADC region continues to be governed by bilateral agreeemtns among member states focusing especially on visa exemptions. Although these bilateral arrangements enable many SADC citizens to freely travel across the region, (with some estimates suggesting that some 80 percent of SADC citizens could travel without a visa or obtain one on arrival for a stay of up to 90 days in other SADC Member States) they do not provide the certainty that would come with the ratification of the 2005 SADC Protocol on Free Movement. Moreover, the implementation of these bilateral visa arrangements are plagued by administrative bottlenecks, which have tended to force many migrants, particularly those from less-developed Member States, to opt for illegal and clendestal migration paths. The prioritisation of sovereignty and security imperatives by SADC member States over the potential economic benefits that could be gained from greater free movement has further stalled the peoples’ integration agenda.

In the East African Community (EAC), a protocol to progressively establish a common market and the free movement of persons, was singed in November 2009 and fully ratified and went into force in July 2010. Implementation. This has thus far translated into the putting into place of a bloc-wide East African passport and temporary passes, to facilitate the movement of citizens across the borders of the community’s six Member States. However, the full implementation of this protocol continues to be constrained by a number of factors, including complexities brought about by some EAC member States membership and commitments in other Regional Economic Communities; lack of harmonized national migration policies; real and perceived security concerns; economic and political asymmetries among member states; as well as the financial and human resources capacity constrainst of the EAC Secretariat to coordinate the protocol’s implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

In the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), despite unrelenting efforts towards achieving free movement of persons, goods, and services among member States, progress has been minimal as has been the case in other areas of integration, partly because of recurrent political tensions among some member states. Thus far, Tunisia is the only AMU Member State that allows the free entry to other Member States’ citizens. The other AU RECs have also continued to deploy efforts towards ensuirng both the free movement of goods and services, but also that of people, albeit with varying degrees of successs.

At the continental level, all major continental frameworks that have been adopted to advance the continent’s integration and development, such as the 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the 1991 Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic community, Africa’s Agenda 2063, alongside some of its flagship projects such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, all recognise and stress the need to work towards the removal of the barriers imposed on free movement by Africa’s multiple borders. In 2016 the African Union launched a unified African passport, which it envisaged to make available to citizens of the continent by 2020. It also set a target of achieving intracontinental free trade by 2017 and abolishing visas for Africans to move within the continent by 2018. Like has been the case at RECs level, many integration targets and timelines at the continental level were also missed. Although overall, progress in the integration of the continent has been very mixed and very slow, the pace of integration of African peoples through free movement has been slower than that of integrating African markets. Evidence of this disparity is clearly born out by the unprecedented speed with which African countries signed (54 out of 55 member states), ratified (47 out of 55 as at October 2021) and enabled the entry into force of the historic Agreeement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in comparison to the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community on the Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Rights of Establishment, which has thus far received just 32 state signatories and only 4 ratifications, way below the 15 member states’ threshold required for it to enter into force.

II. Overall Objectives of the consultancy

Overall, at both the regional and continental levels, there is evident disparity in enthusiasism towards the integration of markets versus the integration of people, raising the question as to why there seems to be greater reluctance to follow through on the implementation of the liberalisation of movement of people on the continent than that of markets, even as there is global consesnsus around the fact that free markets (including the one envisioned in the AfCFTA) require free movement of people to be effective. A number of reasons have been adduced as explanations to this trend, including the surviving salience of notions of territorial sovereignty; human and financial resources constraints both at the levels of RECs secretariats and the AUC, which limit their ability to promote and support the ratification and implementation of various free movement protocols and frameworks; difficulty in harmonizing Member States’ existing migration policies into unified regional or/and continental migration policies/frameworks; isseus of divided loyalty and conflicting interest arising from membership of multiple RECs by member states; strong perceptions at both national and regional levels about the security threats posed by free movement of persons, especially in the context religious and other forms of radicalism and extremism; fears of unfair competiton by locals from migrants, especially in the context os high levels of unemployment; and competiting priorities at national and regional levels, such as the pressing need to fight the multidimensional crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is against the foregoing background and in light of the pivotal role of free movement of people in the realisation of the noble goals of the AfCFTA and Africa’s broader integration agenda, that the Regional Integration Section (RINS) of the Regional integration and Trade Division of ECA wishes to engage the services of a Policy and Advocacy Officer to support its stream of work dedicated to untangling the factors that account for the low levels of enthusiasm at both the continental levels towards promoting and enabling the free movement of people – with the ultimate goal of contributing to ongoing efforts aimed at securing the requisite number of ratifications for and subsequent implementation of the AU Protocol of Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Rights of Establishment – rightly considered as a pre-requisite for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA.

III. Duties and Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the Chief of Section, Regional Integration and the overall guidance of the Director of Regional Integration and Trade (RITD), the Policy and Advocacy Officer on Free Movement of Persons shall among others:

• Support RINS/ECA and its partners’ research and analysis on the benefits of free movement of people in the implementation of the AfCFTA and in advancing broader African integration processes, including exploring and showcasing comparative case studies from African RECs and other integration experiences
• Identify and analyse the factors and considerations that have stalled the ratification of the AU Protocol on Free Movement of People, Rights of Residence and Rights of Establishment and propose concrete actions or interventions needed to address these impeding factors, including demonstrating how other integrating entities resolves similar challenges.
• Support efforts aimed at strengthening and advancing the contents and goals of the AU Protocol on Free Movement of People underscoring its centrality in enhancing the prospects of successfully implementing the AfCFA and advancing Africa’s broader integration agenda.
• Contribute in the articulation and development of a strategy to facilitate and encourage AU member States’ ratification of the Protocol on Freee Movement of People, and its subsewuent implementation.
• Support various advocacy efforts and engagements to be carried out by ECA, either individually or in partnership with the AU, IOM and other stakeholders;
• Support the broader work of the divison on advancing various dimensions of integration, across the three operationl pillars of the ECA – knowledge generation, advocacy and capacity building, and operationalisaiton of integration and development enhancing initiatives

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: An advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Economics, Political Science, International Relations; International Organisations, Regional Integration; Business Administration is required. A first-level university degree in in any of the above fields, in combination with additional two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Experience: A minimum of five years of progressive responsible professional experience in a regional continental or global international organization is required. Experience in African integration and policy making processes is required, as well as experience in liaising with officials in governments, international organizations, inter-governmental or non-governmental organizations. Experience with advocacy and translating policy recommendations into concrete policy actions is highly desirable. Experience working in politically sensitive environments as well as building strategic alliances with Governments, Development Partners and other stakeholders is also desirable.

Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is an advantage.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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