Kenya and Rwanda have opened up their countries to Africans by adopting a visa on arrival regime for African passport holders.
“The free movement of people on the continent has always been the cornerstone of African brotherhood and fraternity. Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to a visa at the port of entry. To underscore Kenya’s commitment, this will not be done on the basis of reciprocity,” Uhuru said during his swearing in ceremony for his second term as President of Kenya.
He said, by opening up borders, the continent will appreciate diversity, embrace integration and reduce negative identity politics.
The decision by Rwanda and Kenya is viewed as a great step toward achievement of a visa-free Africa, which could improve opportunities for all Africans.
The African Union is currently working toward realisation of free movement of Africans across the continent. However, the 2017 African Visa Openness Index report by African Development Bank showed that movement across the continent still poses a challenge.
The report showed that African passport holders require visa to access 54 per cent of countries on the continent with only 10 countries that do not require a visa for Africans, while only 24 per cent countries have provisions for visa-on-arrival.
Commenting on the development on Twitter, African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki called on other nations to follow suit to improve free movement of Africans.
With the decision, Kenya and Rwanda join countries like Mauritius and Seychelles in not requiring visas for Africans prior to arrival.