On November 2, Rwanda declared that it will grant visa-free travel to all Africans, becoming the fourth nation on the continent to implement such a measure. This move by African nations is aimed at enhancing the free movement of people and trade, aspiring to rival Europe’s Schengen zone.
President Paul Kagame made the announcement in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where he pitched the potential of Africa as “a unified tourism destination” for a continent that still relies on 60% of its tourists from outside Africa, according to data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Once implemented, Rwanda will become the fourth African country to remove travel restrictions for African nationals. Other countries that have waived visas to Africans are Gambia, Benin and Seychelles.
Kenya’s President William Ruto in October announced plans to allow all Africans to travel to the East African nation visa-free by December 31.
The African Union (AU) in 2016 launched an African passport to unleash the potential of the continent. However, only diplomats and AU officials have been issued the travel document so far.
The African Passport and free movement of people is aimed at removing restrictions on Africans ability to travel, work and live within their own continent.
AU also launched the African Continental Free Trade Area, a continent-wide free trade area estimated to be worth $3.4 trillion, which aims to create a single unified market for the continent’s 1.3 billion people and to boost economic development.