ECCAS - Free Movement of Persons

In the ECCAS region, there has been little progress to implement the free movement of people as set out in the Treaty Establishing ECCAS. In 1983, ECCAS adopted the Protocol on Freedom of Movement and Rights of Establishment of Nationals of Members States. This protocol includes provisions for the freedom of movement, residence and establishment for all citizens in the ECCAS region. Implementation, according to the Protocol, were scheduled within four and twelve years respectively after the establishment of the Treaty Establishing ECCAS. Moreover, an initiative to fast-track free movement of persons was adopted in January 1990 and amended in June 2000. The initiative was meant to be effective by March 2005, but is still pending[1].  

In practice, the free movement of people is only effective in four CEMAC member States namely Cameroon, Chad, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The rest of the member States require visa for fellow ECCAS citizens[2]. Some member States underline security issues as the main reason for delaying implementation. The political commitment is able to solve the problem of free movement of persons and is, arguably, the main reason for the slow implementation of the Protocol. More recently, however, more member States are offering fellow ECCAS citizens’ visa on arrival and in some countries, the movement of people is relatively fluid[3].

[1] International Organization for Migration. Free Movement of Persons in Regional Integration Processes. International Dialogue on Migration Intersessional Workshop, 2007. Available from

[2] African Development Bank. ECCAS Regional Integration Assistance Strategy for Central Africa 2005-2009. 2005

[3] African Union, Highlights - Status of Integration in Africa V, 2014.