Africa Loosening the shackles of colonisation, division through Visa-free travel
London, Nov. 15, 2019 (AltAfrica- The colonisation of Africa by European powers had a dramatic negative impact on the continent. Africans were acculturated in almost every area of their culture.
One of the biggest impact of colonialism is the legacy of disunity and inability to integrate. Things are no longer done the African way even after many decades of the forced invasion, but in line with the dictates of different colonial masters.
For years, successive African leaders have preached the gospel of unity which led to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963, which later metamorphosed into African Union,AU in 2002. but despite that a united Africa is still elusive
But the hope of a continent edging towards integration For the first time, became more realistic in Johannesburg on Monday with the launch of the Africa Visa Openness Index
The Africa Visa Openness Index measures how open African countries are when it comes to visas by looking at what they ask of citizens from other countries in Africa when they travel. The Index is tracking changes in country scores over time to show which countries are making improvements that support freer movement of people across Africa.
The report published by the African Union Commission and African Development Bank, reveals the joy and aspiration of Pan Africanism. It reveals Africa has seen great improvements in visa openness as Africans can travel to more countries visa-free
For the first time, Africans on average can travel to approximately 27 countries visa-free or with a visa on arrival, said the report compiled by the African Union Commission (AU Commission) and African Development Bank (AfDB).
The progress on visa openness in Africa follows growing momentum for greater integration between countries and signals that policymakers across the continent are pushing reforms, making it easier for African businessmen and women, investors, students and tourists to travel, said the report, released on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Forum underway in Johannesburg.
The report shows that 47 African countries improved or maintained their visa openness scores in 2019.
African travelers no longer need a visa to travel to a quarter of other African countries, whereas visa-free travel was only possible to a fifth of the continent in 2016, according to the report.
Currently, 21 African countries also offer eVisa platforms to make travel more accessible, up from 16 in 2018, 13 in 2017, and nine in 2016, said the report.
The 2019 top performers on visa openness rank among the top countries for foreign direct investment in Africa, and benefit from strong levels of growth, including in tourism, the report said.
The index shows that Seychelles and Benin remain the top two countries on visa openness in Africa, offering visa-free access to all Africans.
Ethiopia moved up by a record 32 places on the index and entered the top 20 most visa-open countries in Africa.
“Our work on the Africa Visa Openness Index continues to monitor how Africa is doing on free movement of people,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.
Progress is being made but much still needs to be done, he added.