The ECOWAS brown card day has been celebrated in Accra by the Ghana National Bureau of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme to commemorate the date on which the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme Protocol was signed by the heads of ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS Brown Card is a complementary Insurance Card that allows a member of the ECOWAS community to be covered by his or her Insurance beyond the geographical limitations of Ghana.
The Brown Card is always issued to members of the ECOWAS sub-region anytime insurance is procured. However, it is often useful when one embarks on a journey or is found beyond the geographical boundaries of Ghana or their home regions.
The ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme was established on 29th May 1982 at Cotonou, Benin, by the Authority of Heads of States and Government of the ECOWAS.
A Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu, lauded the robust implementation of the ECOWAS brown card Insurance Scheme in spite of many ECOWAS policies failing to be implemented.
‘‘The Ghana National Bureau of ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme has done very well given very difficult circumstances, I would say the Brown Card Scheme has managed to chart a very upward cause for itself,’’ he commended.
Commissioner of Insurance, Justice Yaw Ofori, expressed that the risk associated in the cross border carriage of people and goods is the very essence of the ECOWAS Insurance Scheme and has encouraged trade facilitation unlike before when it didn’t exist.
‘‘The scheme guarantees compensation to third party victims of cross border motor accidents, thereby addressing the problem of motor road accident risk which previously, hindered free movement and trade facilitation in the sub-region,” he said.
The Chairman of the Ghana National Bureau, Victor Obeng-Adiyiah, said the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme, has come a long way since its inception in May 1982, and has been able to create a conducive, and secure working environment for members who engage in cross border activities, by guaranteeing, insurance cover should accidents occur.
‘‘The scheme among other things provided the following. These include the guarantee for fair and prompt payment of compensation to victims of cross-border motor accidents caused by visiting motorists, from member state of ECOWAS, and means by which visiting motorists can meet their potential legal obligations which may arise from accidents caused when travelling within the sub-region,” he stated.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Benonita Bismarck, whose outfit is mandated to promote trade facilitation specially to bring ease and security to traders, highlighted some of the challenges of the ECOWAS Brown Card and asked for a concerted effort from all stakeholders to join and bring solutions to them.
“In spite of the significant role the ECOWAS Brown Card plays in promoting regional trade, it has been faced with a number of challenges, such as delay in payments of compensation to victims of motor accident, the prevalence of fake brown cards and undue arrest and detention of foreign motorists involved in motor accident along the sub-region. These challenges require the collective attentions of all stakeholders,” she implored.
Some Solidarity Messages were shared by institutions such as Ghana Insurers Association, Borderless Alliance, WAICA, Ghana Police MTTD who were present at the event.
A new website and the ECOWAS Brown Card Certificate with secured features were also introduced at the program.