Loosening Visa Restrictions in Africa Will Promote Trade and Integration.

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One World. What does that mean? To many this is just another phrase, to other countries they have seen the reality of it and are ripping the benefits big time while dealing with its consequences.

Open borders are expected to yield a number of global benefits. The majority of the benefits accrue to the migrants themselves, while some accrue to immigrant-receiving countries and immigrant-sending countries. But there are also other benefits of a more diffuse nature that are experienced throughout the world.

  • Double world GDP:World GDP will experience a one-time boost of about 50-150%
  • End of poverty: The GDP gains will be felt most by the world’s poorest, and absolute poverty will reduce dramatically. This will benefit the whole world, even those not living in poor countries, as there will, for instance, be fewer dangers of communicable diseases originating in these countries.
  • One world: As kinship and friendship networks spread across the world, this helps strengthen the ties between countries, leading to more trade and mutual gain, with less war and hostility. Cutting-edge ideas developed in one part of the world spread rapidly to others.
  • Innovation case for open borders: When people are free to move across borders, human capital can be allocated to more efficient uses, leading to greater innovation, much of which benefits the whole world due to the fundamentally non-rival nature of knowledge and ideas.
  • Peace case for open borders: Building upon the one world theme, more open borders would lead to more peace as people with friends and kins in and from specific other countries would be less likely to support wars against those countries.

I have always wondered why I need a visa to Visit Mozambique for example, with my Kenyan passport. In recent years, African countries have loosened visa restrictions on their neighbors in order to facilitate the free movement of people and goods, thus, regional integration has become a priority.

The continent is seeing a shift towards more free movement of people: In 2016, Africans did not need visas to travel to 22 percent of other African countries, compared to 20 percent in 2015. The small increase may indicate that the way forward will yield more visa openness, with African countries being more open to host African citizens from other countries.

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This map shows East African countries are relatively more visa open than their African peers. Uganda grants visa on arrival to most African citizens and the remaining ones do not require a visa to enter the country caption

In early 2017, the African Development Bank, in collaboration with the African Union and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa published the Africa Visa Openness Index Report, which ranks African countries based on their visa requirements regarding their fellow African countries. The score looks at whether a country requires visas from African citizens, may it be on arrival or otherwise. The larger the score, the more visa open the country is.

Visa requirements for Kenyan citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Kenya. As of February 2018, Kenyan citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 72 countries and territories, ranking the Kenyan passport 67th in terms of travel freedom (tied with Omani passport) according to the Henley Passport Index.

There are three different classifications concerning visa requirement. Visa required means a visa has to be obtained before departure. Visa on arrival means a visa has to be obtained upon arrival in the country. This includes filling out any visa application forms, paying the visa fee if applicable, and receiving a visa in a travel document. No visa required means that there is no visa needed either before departure or on arrival, with no entry authorization required to enter freely into the country. Entry procedures—such as filling out entry forms and receiving an entry stamp—are still mandatory.

Regional economic community (REC) scores are averages of country scores and reflect the individual openness of countries in the REC toward their fellow African countries. As a group, ECOWAS is more visa open than its fellow regional economic communities.

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After the January 2017 publication of the Visa Openness Index, a list of countries and regional economic communities loosened their visa requirements. For instance, in November 2017, Kenya and Namibia announced that they would be issuing visas on arrival to all African citizens and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) lifted visa requirements for citizens traveling within the regional block.

I recently learnt while planning for a business trip to Mozambique that I will have to pay for visa and visa processing fee. In 2017, Mozambique Government Announced 30-day Tourist Visas now Available at Borders for all Visitors. All visitors to Mozambique are now eligible for visas at borders equipped with the equipment necessary to issue biometric visas according to Mozambique government. 26 border posts have been issuing these visas since 2005. The big trouble here is that there has been considerable confusion regarding which country’s nationals were eligible with many Mozambican Embassies telling travellers that they must get them before travelling to Mozambique.

The information on the website is contrary to all the above, in fact the information on the website say that all Kenyan passport holders wishing to travel to Mozambique must get visas before departing Nairobi.

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As a Kenyan citizen wishing to take advantage of free movement within Africa, I feel that African governments need to do more to promote trade and integration within the region. May times I have heard statements like African problems need African solutions, but Africa has closed herself within herself, meaning, she cannot access solutions that are within her.

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Author: davidaswani

ati Aswani IMG_9441 I am an enterprise consultant, a creative and a tech enthusiast. Am also undertaking my certification in network security at the Cisco Academy. In my spare time, I improve my skills through training’s, tech gatherings and networking. Some of the things that am passionate about is traveling, art, volunteering and cycling, those are the things that keep my blood circulating.

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