1. The Intra-Africa Talent Mobility Partnership (TMP) Program
The Regional Multidisciplinary Center of Excellence (RMCE), based in Mauritius, is implementing the intra-Africa Talent Mobility Partnership (TMP) Program in 12 pilot countries, with funding from the World Bank Development Grant Facility (DGF). The TMP Program seeks to establish “Schengen” type mechanisms and common policies on mobility of professionals, businesspersons and investors, with the goal of enhancing access of firms to the right quality of professionals in time and space.
Such mobility of talent within the region is to help elevate firm level productivity and thereby increase competitiveness of enterprises, which in turn can boost economic growth and create jobs through accelerated economic integration. The TMP objective is consistent with and grounded in agreed common market protocols of the respective regional economic communities (RECs), e.g., the East African Community Common Market Protocol (EAC CMP), the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Common Approach, and other regional frameworks on the movement of labor and services.
The current beneficiary countries are Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone of the ECOWAS; Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda of the EAC; and, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Zambia belonging to the Accelerated Program for Economic Integration (APEI).
The TMP Program hosted a High-Level Forum (HLF) on the subject as a side event of the African Development Bank’s 2015 Annual Meetings in Abidjan (May 25-29, 2015). HLF offered a platform for further dialogue among the participating countries and also helped to sensitize countries outside the pilot group, Africa’s development partners and practitioners on the values and outputs of the TMP, with the objective to strengthening the partnership and mobilizing resources for deepening, scaling up and sustaining the Program beyond the DGF period.
Since 2014, the TMP has enabled the pilot countries to carry out comprehensive country analytical studies on existing practices and gaps in the implementation of regional protocols on movement of professionals and businesspersons as well as skills development programs. National working groups (NWGs) have been established in each pilot country to ensure country ownership, cross-sector participation, a thorough deliberative process, and good oversight of the Program. The TMP has also constituted regional working groups (RWGs) from the NWGs within each of the project’s three sub-regional blocs while program-wide conferences have enabled the regional networks to share lessons and experiences.
The participating countries also reached consensus on recommendations that their sub-regional blocs could implement in facilitating implementation of agreed economic integration protocols. These recommendations have been developed into framework agreements or MOU on implementing specific actions to address the existing gaps and support each other on the reforms that are necessary to build capacity, coordinate and harmonize approaches to skills development, facilitate movement, and to close productivity and competitiveness gaps. The draft MOUs were discussed at RWG Technical Meetings (May 26-28 in Abidjan).
The broad areas of the framework for reforms and capacity building agreed at technical level by the participating countries, which constitute the 2015 Work Program with DGF support, and were the themes for further dialogue during the HLF and RWG Technical Meetings in Abidjan are:
- Strengthening and institutionalizing the network of reformers and technical experts that emerged as a result of the RWGs so that they can support each other on implementing the reforms and measures under the various REC protocols;
- Rolling out priority capacity building programs targeting key gaps in the implementation of existing REC protocols on economic integration and movement. Specifically:
- a)Institutionalizing labor market information systems;
- b)Enhancing migrant welfare, with a focus on coordination of social security benefits
- c)Developing mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) and enabling professionals to take advantage of existing protocols to move;
- d)Improving border control information management systems for mobility of professionals and businesspersons; and,
- e)Analyzing policy impact, with a focus on visa and work permit fee waivers.
iii. Putting in place monitoring and tracking measures for capturing and sharing good practices.
The TMP is being implemented within the context of variable geometry in which the three sub-regional groupings and countries within them emphasize actions at the pace conducive to each, but with encouragement to coordinate and harmonize steps for collective outcomes where necessary.
The partner institutions of the TMP pilot countries are as follows:
|DGF Grant Recipient||Mauritius|
|East African Community (EAC) ||Kenya|
|Economic Community of West African States ||Cote D’Ivoire|
|Accelerated Program for Economic Integration (APEI) ||Mauritius|
2. RMCE as grant recipient of the Interim Programme Secretariat for the APEI countries
The key stakeholders are:
APEI countries (Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Seychelles and Zambia) – reform oriented and like-minded countries have voluntarily signed an agreement on a wider program beyond Talent mobility in September 2012 to accelerate economic integration. The voluntary nature of the association will generate consensus to ensure mutuality of interests needed for the preparation, design and implementation of program. The RMCE is presently acting as the grant recipient and manager of the interim program secretariat. RMCE experience in regional integration capacity building will enhance implementation of the pilot program.
The objective under the APEI is to give a boost to the flow of foreign investment and the export of services within the African continent, with an initial focus on the 5 like-minded participating countries, namely, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Zambia, with a view to fostering faster economic integration through enhanced growth and employment opportunities. The program was adopted in line with the spirit of rapid integration based on the principles of variable geometry and variable speed adopted by the joint Council of Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks of COMESA and SADC.
Objective of the Program
Under this initiative, the 5 reform-oriented countries have adopted an Action Matrix covering five building blocks. The Action Matrix (AM) identifies the priority constraints under each pillar and a set of specific actions to be implemented to address such impediments over a 3-year time frame, starting in May 2013. Specific key performance indicators have been set to ensure that the objectives of the integration process are met.
The 5 pillars requiring actions to be undertaken to remove impediments to trade and investment have been identified as:
(i) Improvement of business regulatory environment;
(ii) Elimination of barriers to trade in goods;
(iii) Promotion of trade in services;
(iv) Improvement in trade facilitation; and
(v) Peer-to-Peer learning and capacity building