Rwanda is the latest African country to declare visa-free entrance for other African countries.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, President Paul Kagame made the announcement in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. He emphasized Africa’s potential as “a unified tourism destination” for a continent that still receives 60% of its visitors from outside the continent.
“Any African, can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish and they will not pay a thing to enter our country” the Rwandan president stated at the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
“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,” he added.
Kenyan President William Ruto said on Monday that by December 31, all Africans will be free to visit the country without a visa.
“By the end of this year, no African will need a visa to enter Kenya. The time has come to understand the importance of doing trade between us,” the Kenyan head of state declared.
“It is time we realize the importance of trading among ourselves and allowing goods, services, people, and ideas to move freely across the continent,” he added.
Angola had earlier announced that its granting nationals from 90 countries visa-free entry.
In 2016, the African Union introduced the African passport, pledging to “unleash the potential of the continent” in a way analogous to the European Union. Until today, however, the travel permit has only been provided to diplomats and AU officials.
The African Passport and free movement of people, according to the African Union’s website, are designed to “remove restrictions on Africans’ ability to travel, work, and live within their own continent.”
The African Union also formed the African Continental Free Trade Area, a free trade zone that spans the entire continent and is valued at $3.4 trillion. Its goals are to foster economic progress and offer a single, united market for the continent’s 1.3 billion inhabitants.