Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA)

Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA)


Type: Regional consultative process on migration (region covered: West Africa)

Formal association with regional or multi-stakeholder organization : Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Established: 2001

The Migration Dialogue for West Africa or MIDWA was designed as a platform to encourage the Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to discuss in a regional context such common migration issues and concerns for which immediate solutions may not be forthcoming we have national level. Its objective is to promote and ensure high quality cooperation among ECOWAS Member States, third countries and other international consultative forums on Free Movement and migration by

  • institutionalizing permanent national platforms and secretariats for cooperation on migration and mobility;
  • implementing projects in the area of ​​border management, migration data, labor migration, return and reintegration as well as people on the move;
  • awareness raising of migration issues in the Member States;
  • sharing experiences and challenges with other consultative processes on migration to foster solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility
  • participating in national, regional and international migration forums;
  • and maintaining a robust website on migration issues.

MIDWA has regularly organized meetings, conferences and workshops and produced reports and concrete recommendations on migration for the ECOWAS Commission and ECOWAS Member States. MIDWA has facilitated the development of the ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration (adopted by the 33rd regular meeting of ECOWAS Head of States and Governments in January 2008). This approach serves as reference points for the development of each Member State's National Migration Policy. In 2017, MIDWA's regional secretariat was created within the ECOWAS commission, implementing the Members' decision to create MIDWA institutions to strengthen the coordination and cooperation amongst Member States to promote and implement harmonized policies on managing migration.

Current Thematic Focus
Specific areas of MIDWA's discussion include:

  • Migration data and statistics
  • Border management
  • Combatting trans-border organized crime (human trafficking and migrant smuggling)
  • Return and reintegration
  • Free movement, professional mobility and student exchange
  • Protection of migrants' rights
  • Irregular migration and mixed flows
  • Diaspora, West African communities
  • Climate change
  • Migration and security

Member States (15 States)

Burkina Faso
Cabo Verde
Côte d'Ivoire
Sierra Leone

Member Organizations (1 organization)
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Current Chair : Ghana
Past Chairs: Niger, Nigeria, Togo,  Liberia

Observer States (2 States)


Observer Organizations (3 Organizations)
African Union Commission
European Commission
International Organization for Migration (IOM)

MIDWA Steering Committee
Comprises representatives of 9 Member States (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Cabo Verde, Mauritania) and 4 Observers (European Union, the International Organization for Migration, the Swiss Government and ECOWAS). Its main responsibilities include the preparation of guidelines and decisions and to approve the work plan of the secretariat. The Steering Committee may invite on an ad hoc basis relevant United Nations agencies, other international and regional, organizations, institutions and affiliates to participate as Observers for a related meeting.

Thematic Working Groups (TWG)
The TWG include subject matter experts and focal persons from each Member State. Each working group is chaired by a MIDWA Member State. The TWG are primarily responsible for drafting of policies and guidelines and the implementation of recommendations and action plans. There are seven TWGs addressing the thematic foci of the MIDWA:
(i) Border management and cross-border crime (TWG Chair: Mali)
(ii) Diaspora, West African communities and / or nationals (TWG Chair: Ivory Coast)
(iii) Professional mobility and student exchange (TWG Chair: Ghana)
(iv) Climate change, land degradation, desertification, environment and migration (TWG Chair: Burkina Faso)
(v) Migration statistics and data (TWG Chair: Nigeria)
(vi) Return, readmission and reintegration (TWG Chair: Niger)
(vii) Cooperation and partnership (TWG Chair: Senegal)

MIDWA Regional secretariat The Regional Secretariat was created within the ECOWAS Commission in January 2017. Chaired by the ECOWAS Free Movement Directorate , it aims to support MIDWA in its development as a structured and result-oriented regional dialogue.

ECOWAS National Committees in Charge of Migration ensure the liaison between the MIDWA and the national actors in charge of migration.

MIDWA Secretariat is supported by the “Free Movement of Persons and Migration West Africa (FMM)” project funded by ECOWAS and the EU and implemented by the IOM in cooperation with ILO and ICMPD.

Contact Information
Mr Albert Siaw-Boateng
Director, Free Movement and Tourism Directorate
Abuja Nigeria
E-mail: info@fmmwestafrica.com

To be developed

December 7-10, 2020, Lome, Togo,Border management working group meeting
July 24, 2020, Virtual event, Ministerial Meeting

August 20 - 22, 2019, Lome, Togo, Experts and Ministerial Meetings

November 28, 2018 Abuja, Nigeria, MIDWA Secretariat Meeting
August 29, 2018 Abuja, MIDWA Secretariat Meeting
July 17-19 , 2018 Abuja, Nigeria, MIDWA Thematic Working Groups  (Return and Reintegration, Migration Data, Border Management)
June 19, 2018 Abuja, Nigeria, MIDWA Secretariat Meeting June 7-8, 2018
buja, Nigeria, MIDWA (ad hoc) Experts' Group Meeting for the Revision of the Draft Regional Migration Policy

May 30-June 1, 2018, Saly, Senegal, MIDWA Mixed Migration Working Group
March 29, 2018 Abuja, Nigeria, MIDWA Secretariat Meeting

February 14-15, 2018, Abuja, Nigeria, MIDWA Migration Data Working Group (extraordinary) Meeting
February 2, 2018, Abuja, Nigeria, MIDWA Secretariat Meeting
May 25-26, 2017, TWG Migration Data final report and Action Plan
August 30- 31, 2017, TWG Return and Reintegration final report and Action Plan
August 1-2, 2017, TWG Border Management final report and Action Plan
September 13-14, 2017, MIDWA Ministerial meeting
September 12, 2017, MIDWA Steering Committee final report
August 23 -25, 2016, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, Ministerial and Experts Meeting: "The Impact of Free Movement and the Challenges of Migration" - Concept Note , Press Release
August 25, 2016, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, Ministerial Meeting - Agenda , Final Report
August 23-24, 2016, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, Experts Meeting - Agenda , Final Report
February 18, 2016, Dakar, Senegal, Steering Committee
October 9, 2015, Nouakchott, Mauritania, Ministerial Level Meeting
October 6 -8, 2015, Nouakchott, Mauritania, Experts Meeting “Irregular migration: challenges and solutions”
May 6-8, 2014, Accra, Ghana, Expert Meeting and Ministerial Meeting
July 2012, Conference focusing on internal organizational and governance matters
May 4-6 , 2010, Accra, Ghana, Protecting People on the Move in the ECOWAS Space, vol II, for Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
April 7-9, 2010, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Protecting People on the Move in the ECOWAS Space – regional training workshop on protection of vulnerable persons in mixed migration flows for governmental and civil society representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo