Launch of the concept of the African Passport for free movement of African nationals on the continent
Outgoing African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma launched the concept of the African passport at the summit which was one one of the big tick items on her list.
The chairperson also said that all African countries must grant a 30-day visa on arrival to all African passport holders. Ghana and a few other countries have already responded to that decision, “which she commended a lot”.
She also urged that other countries follow suit. “Countries have said that they are going back to look at the practicality of doing their immigration regulation.
She stated several other regions had a similar arrangement, such as the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and even the East African Community (EAC), but it was now time to broaden the scope of movement so that people could move freely inter-regionally.
What does this mean for Africa?
1. To increase trade relations between African nations, where there are vast resources, but very little trade between countries.
2. Open, visa-free access to 54 member nations of the African Union.
3. Trade amongst African nations stands at only 13% according to the AU, compared to an intra-Europe trade ranging between 43% and 83%
4. It will facilitate the free movement of Africans, who the AU believes are still being separated by colonial-era borders.
5. It will make doing business in Africa easier as it will reduce the time frame to obtain a visa before travelling and eliminate the admin of applying for a visa.
6. It will also open African nationals to learning opportunities about different cultures and broaden our horizons of doing business on the continent.
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