Kenya’s Visa-free Travel: A Vision of Unity

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Africans face a staggering 38-visa hurdle to travel within Africa using their passport, in stark contrast to Europeans who enjoy visa-free access to most African countries. The African Union’s (AU) plan, set in 2013, to eliminate visa requirements for all Africans by 2018 has seen limited success. Only Seychelles, Mozambique, Rwanda, Comoros, and Madagascar currently grant visa-free travel to all Africans.
Kenyan President William Ruto announced that by the year’s end, visas will no longer be required for Africans traveling to the country. He made this proclamation during his keynote address at the “Three Basins Climate Change” conference in Brazzaville, Congo. Ruto emphasized that this measure is geared towards amplifying trade with fellow African nations.
He mentioned the remarkable surge in trade among East African countries, attributing it to the elimination of visa requisites and tariffs. “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,” Ruto 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. “When people cannot travel, businesspeople cannot travel, entrepreneurs cannot travel, we all become net losers.” Ruto further pointed out

“our children from this continent should not be locked in borders in Europe and also be locked in borders in Africa”.

A recent AU report reveals that just 22% of African nations allow visa-free entry for other Africans. This discrepancy fosters xenophobia in wealthier African nations, hindering the economic potential of free movement. South Africa epitomizes this divide, as citizens of 15 African nations can enter without a visa, while 28 European passports gain free access.

Although some progress has been made by nations like Namibia, Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Benin, and Kenya in easing restrictions, over half of Africa’s countries still demand visas, a legacy of colonial-era borders.

Commercial flights between regions are scarce and exorbitant, compounding the challenge. Efforts have been made by many top entrepreneurs targeted at simplifying travel for Africans within the continent, but the 2018 deadline for widespread visa elimination has passed, leaving the vision of a borderless Africa in limbo.

However, the move by countries like Kenya is a step in the right direction for visa-free travel. As the country mulls over this for implementation, the question remains; Which countries can enter Kenya visa-free?.” The answer is All African countries.

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