Developing mutual recognition agreements for professional skills mobility in the Southern African Development Community
Several recommendations have been put forward to address skills shortages or gaps in Africa. African governments are increasingly pursuing market liberalisation in order to tap the best skills and talents and improve services standards and quality. For example, the Treaty establishing African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides for removal of restrictions to allow free movement of persons, labour and services. Similar provisions are found in most of agreements creating the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
It is an undisputable fact that effective skills mobility depends on the acceptance or recognition of each country’s qualifications and competency and removal of any prohibitive regulation in the recipient country. While the SADC PMP provides for removal of restrictions on movement of labour and self-employed persons, the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (SISR) 2015-2063 calls for removal of restrictions on skilled-labour mobility as a priority in promoting industrialisation. Also, SADC PTIS provides for services market liberalisation and mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) for professional services.
This paper therefore looks at the different approaches, drawing lessons from elsewhere, in the development of regional MRAs and provides recommendations for SADC and AfCFTA in the preparation for MRAs to facilitate movement of services and skills in Africa.
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