#ECOWAS Ministers Propose Phased Reopening of Borders
Foreign and Trade Ministers of the 15-member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have proposed reopening borders between their countries in the first half of July and allowing in travellers from other countries with low or controlled levels of coronavirus spread by the end of July.
Members of the ECOWAS bloc have imposed varying levels of travel restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with many shutting their borders completely.
The new proposal, contained in an ECOWAS summary of a virtual meeting held last week by the Ministers, called for coordinated efforts to reopen cross-border trade that has been crippled by coronavirus restrictions.
It said a first phase consisting of opening up domestic air and land transport should be implemented this month.
A third phase, involving the opening of air and land borders to “countries with low and controlled levels of Covid-19 contamination rates”, should occur by July 31, but will depend on the evolution of the pandemic, the report said.
It added that the “Ministers’ recommendations will be presented to ECOWAS Heads of State at a forthcoming summit.”
African governments have struggled since the start of the outbreak to strike a balance between containing the virus and maintaining the day-to-day economic activities that millions of their citizens depend on to survive.(VON)