Rwanda Lifts Visa Restrictions For African Countries

Rwandan President Paul Kagame announced on Thursday the removal of visa requirements for any Africans wishing to enter the Central African country.

This introduction makes Rwanda the fourth African country to do so.

“Let there be no mistake about it. Any African can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish and will not pay a thing to enter our country,” President Kagame said in Kigali when he pitched the potential of Africa as “a unified tourism destination”

For decades, various African governments have considered unrestricted movement of citizens across the continent, even asking for a united single African passport.

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s late strongman, was a strong supporter of free movement of people and goods.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced during his inauguration speech in 2017 that the tourism hub will henceforth grant visas on arrival to all Africans.

“The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity we will become,” Kenyatta said.

Rwanda has launched a tourism promotion campaign, working with European football clubs such as Arsenal and Bayern Munich to market the country as a tourist destination.

According to Kagame, “We should not lose sight of our own continental market.”

“Africans are the future of global tourism as our middle class continues to grow at a fast pace in the decades to come.”

The African Union has hailed the decision of Rwanda and Kenya to improve free trade across the continent.

“I urge all African states that have not yet done so to take similar measures,” AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Twitter after Kenya’s announcement,” AU said.

Trade between African countries is only 16%, but trade between European Union states is 70%, Mahamat told AU trade ministers on Friday.

Several African countries, most recently Ghana and South Africa, as well as Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have signed bilateral visa-free travel agreements.

Written by PH

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