ECOWAS Biometric ID Card

Item 13:    Report of the ECOWAS Heads of Immigration on the Deployment of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card  


  1. The Commission in its presentation on the report of the ECOWAS Heads of Immigration meeting, indicated that the need to propose a joint action plan on the deployment of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card and removal of residence card requirements for migrants of ECOWAS extraction in territories of Member States, ensuring security of migrants, strengthening identity management through a coordinated approach in information exchange and data management in the context of securitised inter-regional mobility
  2. The Commission mentioned that the ECOWAS Heads of Immigration made the following fifteen (15) recommendations:-
  • The roll-out of the ECOWAS Biometric Identity Card would be piloted in 2016;
  • In terms of colour of the ID card, it was recommended that all member States should have the same colour;
  • New Biometric Identity Card to circulate alongside the national identity card in each Member State for a period of time till the biometric identity card is fully institutionalised within the timeframe to be set (2016);
  • The Identity Card would replace the Travel Certificate;
  • The countries whose Consulates were already engaged in census-taking of their nationals in ECOWAS host countries should be encouraged to continue enhancing their efforts, while others should take adequate measures to ensure enrolment of its nationals.
  • Consular Immigration Attachés to forward information about their citizens domiciled in the ECOWAS host nation to immigration office in the Member State;
  • Protection of data should be assured through the implementation of additional Acts of the Conference of Heads of State in 2010;
  • Police, Customs and Immigration Services to exchange information quickly and reduce waiting time;
  • The imperative of the removal of Residence Card requirements for ECOWAS citizens in Member States;
  • The West African Police Information System (WAPIS) to collaborate with ECOWAS to create information sharing mechanism as an essential tool for law enforcement agencies in their efforts to secure the region with the establishment of the ECOWAS Biometric Identity Card and ensure Identity Management in the region;
  • Replicate the pilot project of Cote d’Ivoire, the monitoring system deployed and its experience and expertise in other ECOWAS Member States to ensure security of migrants and Member States territories;
  • Replicate the WAPIS system which allows law enforcement agencies in ECOWAS Member States to share and manage data on criminals;
  • Strengthen information system of States through the establishment of WAPIS. Recognise the importance of the full implementation of the WAPIS Program in all ECOWAS Member States to ensure security within ECOWAS free movement zone;
  • Recommend for replication of WAPIS in Member States as an information system on criminals and setting up WAPIS in all ECOWAS Member States;
  • Training of operatives at the frontiers on basic health procedures to reduce proliferation of agencies and bottlenecks at our borders.





Abuja, 9th – 11th December, 2014