Nigeria, South Africa Operate Difficult Visa Regimes – AfDB, AU

A report of the African Development Bank Group and the African Union has ranked Nigeria and South Africa as some of the nations that make it difficult for prospective African travellers to secure entry visas.

The report titled, ‘Africa Openness Report 2019,’ ranked 54 African countries on three openness issues in securing visa – where no visa was required, where visa was issued on arrival and where visa was required.

The report ranked Nigeria 30 and South Africa 35 among 54 countries.

On top of the ranking were Seychelles and Benin Republic with their no visa policies. They were followed by Senegal, Rwanda, Uganda, Guinea Bissau, Cabo Verde, Togo and Mauritania in the same order.

From the bottom of the list were Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, South Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Burundi, Algeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The ranking means that it is easier to visit the nations on top of the ranking and more difficult to visit the nations at the bottom of the ranking.

The report said, “The Africa Visa Openness Index measures how open African countries are when it comes to visas by looking at what they ask of citizens from other countries in Africa when they travel.

“It aims to show at a glance which countries are facilitating travel for citizens of other countries and how, whether they allow people to travel to their countries without a visa, if travellers can get a visa on arrival in the country, or if visitors need to get a visa before they travel.

“Data on visa openness was collected in June and July 2019. The primary source of information was from official country website and the International Air Transport Association.”

According to the report, Nigeria does not require visa from 17 African countries, issues visa on arrival from one country and requires visa from 35 African countries.

South Africa, on the other hand, does not require visa from 15 African countries, does not issue visa on arrival to any country in the region and requires visa procedures from 38 African countries.

Seychelles and Benin require no visa from 53 African countries while Equatorial Guinea on the bottom of the ladder requires visa from 53 African countries.

Countries that moved up the index included Ethiopia which leapfrogged 32 places from the 2018 rating to join the top 20 (now rated number 18).

Senegal moved 10 places from 2018 to hug number three position and Ghana moved 10 places from 2016 to place number five.

The report said championing greater visa openness across Africa would help to capitalise on the gains to be realised from the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Single African Air Transport Market and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons.

According to the report, Africans do not need a visa to travel to 25 per cent of other African countries, can get visas on arrival in 26 per cent of other African countries and need visas to travel to 49 per cent of other African countries.

In a foreword to the report, AfDB Vice-President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Directory, Dr Khaled Sherif, said integration depended on investments and interconnectivity.

He said, “As Africa paves the pathway to prosperity with the ACFTA, we are all responsible for accelerating its progress.”

The Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission, Kwesi Quartey, said, “An African continent without travel and document restrictions should be an Africa we all can be proud of.”

Quartey said as Africa’s milestones ushered in an era of closer cooperation and connectivity for all citizens; it was time to collectively take down the barriers that remain.

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