Rwanda will allow visa-free travel for all Africans to boost free movement and trade within Africa.
President Paul Kagame announced this at the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council in Kigali, where he highlighted the potential of Africa as a unified tourism destination.
“Any African can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish, and they will not pay a thing to enter our country,” Kagame said.
“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 significance of “RwandaisOpen” is now clear to all. 🇷🌍🇷🇼 ⤵️
— Rwanda Is Open 🇷🇼 (@RwandaisOpen) November 2, 2023
Rwanda will be the fourth African country to remove visa restrictions for all Africans, following Gambia, Benin, and the Seychelles.
Kenya also plans to implement visa-free travel for Africans by the end of the year, according to President William Ruto, who spoke at an international summit in Congo Brazzaville on Monday.
“Visa restrictions among ourselves are working against us. When people cannot travel, business people cannot travel, and entrepreneurs cannot travel, we all become net losers,” Ruto said.
The African Union (AU) has been promoting the idea of free movement and trade within the continent, launching an African passport in 2016 and the African Continental Free Trade Area in 2018.
The AU says that the African passport and free movement of people are “aimed at removing restrictions on Africans’ ability to travel, work, and live within their continent as part of the Agenda 2063 flagship project.
In addition, the free trade area is estimated to be worth $3.4 trillion and to create a single, unified market for the continent’s 1.3 billion people.
“The initiative aims at transforming Africa’s laws, which remain generally restrictive on the movement of people despite political commitments to bring down borders, with the view to promoting the issuance of visas by Member States to enhance the free movement of all African citizens in all African countries.”