strategic vision

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

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.

Chairing Country

  • Current Chair: Nigeria (2023-2024)
  • Past Chairs: Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Liberia

Member States (15 States)

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cape Verde
  • Ivory Coast
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo

Member Organizations (1 organization)


Observer States (2 States)

  • Mauritania
  • Switzerland

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.
  • November 22-23, 2023, Abuja, Nigeria, Workshop and Training of Trainers on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on Mixed Migration for Frontline Service Providers
  • August 29-30, 2023, Virtual Event, Interactive Dialogue towards the development of an ECOWAS Policy on Data and Information on Missing West African Migrants
  • May 4, 2023, Conference on Regional Road Map to Strengthen Counter-Trafficking in West Africa
  • April 25-26, 2023, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Regional Conference of ECOWAS Member States on Ending Human Trafficking, with the theme: ‘Charting a way forward for deeper cooperation in ECOWAS to end Human Trafficking’
  • September 19 – 20, 2022, Virtual Event, Ministerial meeting “Return and Reintegration”
  • June 27 – 30, 2022, Abuja, Nigeria (Hybrid), Meeting of the Technical Working Group in Migration Data
  • June 7 – 10, 2022, Accra, Ghana (Hybrid), Technical Working Group meeting on Return and reintegration
  • May 24 – 27, 2022, Accra, Ghana (Hybrid), Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Migration Data
  • May 9 – 13, 2022, Virtual Event, Technical working group on Migration Environment and Climate Change
  • April 11-14, 2022, Accra, Ghana, Meeting of Border Management Experts
  • March 24 – 25, 2021, Virtual Event, MIDWA Migration, Environment and Climate Change Technical Group Working Group Meeting on Migration, Environment and Climate Change
  • March 18 – 19, 2021, Abuja, Nigeria, MIDWA Data Technical Working Group Meeting and the official launch of ECOWAS Migration Statistics Report
  • 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
Contact Information

Mr Albert Siaw-Boateng
Director, Free Movement and Tourism Directorate
Abuja Nigeria