Rwanda lifts visa restrictions for African nations

Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, on Thursday announced the lifting of visa restrictions for all Africans wanting to visit the Central African nation.

This introduction makes Rwanda the fourth African country to do so.

“Let there be no mistake about it. Any African can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish and will not pay a thing to enter our country,” President Kagame said in Kigalki when he pitched the potential of Africa as “a unified tourism destination”

For decades several African leaders have entertained the idea of free movement by citizens across the continent, even going as far as advocating for a unified single African passport.

Late Libyan strongman, Muammar Gaddafi, had been a strong proponent of the free movement of people and services.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during his inauguration speech in 2017, took the giant step to announce that the tourism hub will now give visas on arrival to all Africans.

“The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity we will become,” Kenyatta said.

Rwanda has been on a campaign to boost its tourism sector, partnering with European football clubs like Arsenal and Bayern Munich to promote the country as a tourist destination.

According to Kagame, “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 African Union has hailed the decision of Rwanda and Kenya to improve free trade across the continent.

“I urge all African states that have not yet done so to take similar measures,” AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Twitter after Kenya’s announcement,” AU said.

Trade among African countries is at just 16 per cent, while trade among European Union states is at 70 per cent, Mahamat told AU trade ministers on Friday.

Several African countries have also entered bilateral agreements for visa-free travel, most recently Ghana and South Africa, and Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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