By Khalifa Hemed
Published May 24, 2017
Though the African Union launched a continetal Passport in July 2016 to facilitate travel for African citizens across the continent, Nigerian Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, requires 38 visas to move around the 54-country continent where Seychelles is the only country that Africans can travel to without a visa.
According to Africa Visa Openness Index, an annual survey that examines how open countries are in terms of visa requirements for Africans across the continent, 75% of countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries are either in East or West Africa. While Mauritania is the only northern African country to make it to the Top 20 most visa open countries, central Africa is conspicuously absent.
Africa Visa Openness Index–the initiative of African Development Bank in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum–shows that Ghana made the most progress in 2016 in opening up its borders to African travellers; Senegal and Tunisia also moved into the top 20 most visa-open countries.
So what happened to the the African Union Passport that, reportedly, has since been issued to Heads of State and Government, First Ladies, Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Chairpersons of Regional Economic Communities, Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union and some business persons?
“The African Union is supporting Member States in rolling out the African Union passport to all its citizens, granting them visa-free access to explore the Continent for business, pleasure, leisure and tourism,” says Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of African Union Commission.
Greater visa openness would provide free movement of persons, intra-African trade, tourism, study and job opportunities as well as people-to-people exchanges for all Africans, according to Africa Visa Openness Index.
- Africans don’t need a visa to travel to 22% of other African countries
- Africans can get visas on arrival in 24% of other African countries
- Africans need visas to travel to 54% of other countries
- Thirteen African countries offer e-Visas
“Our leaders have to bring down the walls that separate us, from East Africa to Central Africa to North Africa to West Africa. We need a wider open market,” says Akinwumi A Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.