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Kenya Announces Visa-Free Access To Africans

Kenyan President William Ruto has declared that there will be an end to visa requirements…

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Kenya Announces Visa Free Access To Africans
Kenyan President William Ruto

Kenyan President William Ruto has declared that there will be an end to visa requirements for all African visitors by the end of the year.

VerseNews learnt that the development has been widely praised as Kenya became the fourth African nation to scrap visas for African nationals after Seychelles, The Gambia and Benin.

Unrestricted travel for Africans within the continent has been an objective of the African Union (AU) for the past decade.

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Speaking at an international conference recently, Ruto said, “It is time we…realise that having visa restrictions amongst ourselves is working against us.”

However, according to Africa’s Visa Openness Index – which measures the extent to which each country in Africa is open to visitors from other African countries – most countries are making progress towards simplifying entry processes and dropping restrictions to some other nations.

In 2022, Kenya was ranked 31st on the index out of 54 states, but Ruto told an audience in Congo-Brazzaville that visa restriction was bad for business on the continent.

“When people cannot travel, businesspeople cannot travel, entrepreneurs cannot travel, we all become net losers.

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“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,” he said to loud cheers from the conference delegates.

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

He was speaking at a summit aimed at protecting some of the world’s largest rainforests.

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The AU launched its African passport in 2016. The idea behind the passport is for all African citizens to be able to travel throughout the continent without visas – but it is still not widely available.

This is in part because of concerns about security, smuggling and the impact on the local employment markets.

If dropping all visa restrictions is currently a step too far, the Visa Openness Index report recommends a number of other measures. These include lowering fees, making visa-on-arrival standards for African visitors and implementing a secure e-visa system.

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