President William Ruto has stated that by the end of the year, Kenya will no longer require visas for any tourists from Africa.
He said during an international conference, “It is time we… realize that having visa restrictions amongst ourselves is working against us.”
The African Union (AU) has been working toward visa-free travel inside the continent for the past ten years.
Although there are bilateral agreements and regional agreements, there has been little progress in the direction of no limitations.
According to a 2022 AU-backed research, the only countries that allow admission to all African residents without a visa are Seychelles, The Gambia, and Benin.
However, most African governments are moving in the direction of streamlining entry procedures and removing barriers to some other countries, according to Africa’s Visa Openness Index, which gauges how welcoming each nation is to tourists from other African nations.
Kenya was placed 31st out of 54 states on the ranking in 2022.
It’s bad for business, President Ruto told an audience in Congo-Brazzaville.
“We all lose out when individuals, companies, and entrepreneurs are unable to travel.
To thunderous applause from the conference attendees, he declared, “Let me say this: As Kenya, by the end of this year, no African will be required to have a visa to come to Kenya.”
“Our children from this continent shouldn’t be imprisoned within borders—either in Europe or Africa.”
He was giving a speech at a summit to preserve some of the biggest rainforests on earth.
The African passport was introduced by the AU in 2016. Although the passport is still not widely available, the aim behind it is to allow all African people to travel around the continent without a visa.
This is partially due to worries about smuggling, security, and the effect on the local labor markets.
In case lifting all visa restrictions is deemed excessive at this time, several alternative actions are suggested by the Visa Openness Index report. These include cutting costs, requiring an electronic visa upon arrival for travelers from Africa, and putting in place a safe e-visa system.