Follow us on:   

African Development Bank notes improvement in African Visa Openness
November 14, 2019, 5:24 pm

“Without the free movement of people, there can be no free movement of goods” – Jean-Guy Afrika

South African recently hosted tourism exhibitors from 23 African countries [PREUSS]

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union Commission (AUC) launched the fourth edition of the Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI) in Johannesburg at the the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Johannesburg. The AIF brings together project sponsors and investors, borrowers, lenders, policy makers and public and private sector investors, to promote Africa’s investment opportunities.

The latest report ties into developments on regional integration across Africa including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA), the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons (PFMP)

“This edition highlights the strong progress being made to open up borders at country and regional level for Africans to travel, but it should be seen as a work-in-progress, as we need to incorporate additional features such as how much does the visa on arrival cost,” Moono Mupotola, the Director, Regional Development and Regional Integration at the AfDB told The BRICS Post.

Countries and regions across Africa have realized the value of supporting Africans to travel more freely on the continent and are breaking down borders, so in the fourth edition, the AVOI can now state that for the first time, Africans now have liberal access to 51% of the continent.

[Visa Openness Progress Source: AfDB]

In 2019, a record 47 countries improved or maintained their visa openness scores, which on average are rising year-on-year. Today, African travelers no longer need a visa to travel to a quarter of other African countries, whereas visa-free travel was only possible to a fifth of the continent in 2016.

To streamline the travellers’ experience, 21 countries Africa-wide now provide eVisa platforms boosting transparency and accessibility. Thanks to AVOI data, decision-makers and policymakers across the continent have been empowered to take action to relax their visa regimes for African visitors with striking results.

“The media has been a fantastic partner in opening up African countries, as in most cases, visa procedures are a ministerial responsibility, and not subject to long legislative delays,” Jean-Guy Afrika, the presenter, said.

The 2019 top performers on visa openness rank among the top countries for foreign direct investment in Africa, and benefit from strong levels of growth, including in the tourism sector, because if there is no personal contact, it is difficult to conduct business.

The AfCFTA moved into its operational phase on 7 July 2019 at an Extraordinary Summit of the African Union, with plans for trading under the Agreement due to begin on 1 July 2020. The AfCFTA will be one of the largest free trade areas in the world, covering 1.2 billion people, growing to 2.5 billion by 2050. Empowering Africa’s population to travel will be vital to facilitate both trade flows and capital investment.

Helmo Preuss in Johannesburg, South Africa for The BRICS Post