Africa’s leaders and policymakers have been identified as having a major role to play in helping Africans to move freely in support of Agenda 2063’s call to abolish visa requirements for all Africans by 2018.
A report, the first Africa Visa Openness Index, launched on Friday by the African Development Bank, stated that African countries would gain immensely from promoting more visa-free regional blocs and pushing for greater reciprocity, and also from introducing more visa-on-arrival policies for citizens.
The Visa Openness Index shows how Africa has remained largely closed off to African travelers.
It established that on average, Africans who need visas to travel to 55 per cent of other African countries, could get visas on arrival in only 25 per cent of other countries and do not need a visa to travel to just 20 per cent of other countries on the continent.
According to it, currently, 75 per cent of countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries on the continent are in West Africa or East Africa, only one country in the top 20 is in North Africa while there are none in the top 20 from Central Africa.
The report also shows that Africa’s Middle Income Countries have low visa-openness scores overall, while the continent’s smaller, landlocked and island states are more open.
Reacting to the findings of the report, Director, New Partnership for African Development, Regional Integration and Trade, African Development Bank, Moono Mupotola, said, “opening up a country’s visa regime is a quick-win on development that remains untapped in Africa.Visa openness promotes talent mobility and business opportunities.”
The Director, McKinsey & Company, a member of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Africa, Acha Leke, said, “When we started this work, only five African countries offered liberal access to all Africans; this number has grown to 13 over the past three years. We are making progress, but need to accelerate the pace.”
At country level, Seychelles is ranked number one in Africa for its visa openness policy, offering visa-free access to all Africans.