Did you ever hear of an IGAD Passport? Yes, it’s a real thing!

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is an eight-country trade bloc in Africa. It includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes. Its headquarters are in Djibouti City. Members are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Uganda.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development was established in 1996. It succeeded the earlier Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), a multinational body founded in 1986 by Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya, with a focus on development and environmental control. IGADD’s headquarters were later moved to Djibouti, following an agreement signed in January 1986 by the member states. Eritrea joined the organization in 1993, upon achieving independence.

In April 1995, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government met in Addis Ababa, where they agreed to strengthen cooperation through the organization. This was followed with the signing of a Letter of Instrument to Amend the IGADD Charter / Agreement on 21 March 1996. The Revitalised IGAD, a new organizational structure, was eventually launched on 25 November 1996 in Djibouti.

IGAD expanded its activities in 2008 with initiatives to improve the investment, trade and banking environments of member states. The organization stressed the deployment of highly innovative programmes and mechanisms.

The Council of Ministers is composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and one other Minister designated by each member state. The Council formulates policy, approves the work program and annual budget of the Secretariat during its biannual sessions.

This Service Laissez-Passer is quite an unusual document and rarely spotted as it serves only within its member states (as stated in the passport). The low serial number indicates that not many such documents are issued. This travel document has also some stamps. However, it’s not clear for me why this organization needs its own passport and what the benefit is for its holders. I have seen in the past also a passport (Laissez-Passer) of the African Development Bank.


  • Did you ever hear of an IGAD Passport? Yes, it's a real thing!


Pictures courtesy of A.V.