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Africans demand end to visa restrictions in online petition

A group of Africans has launched an online petition to have visa restrictions in Africa eliminated to ease movement across the continent.

A new Visa Openness Report in Africa in June revealed that majority of African countries are still unwelcoming to Africans.

In that report 51 percent of African countries still demand that Africans secure visas before visiting their territories.

That policy means many Africans struggle to travel freely across borders on the continent. So far only 25 percent of African countries no longer require visas for African citizens.

But 24 percent do grant African citizens visas upon arrival in their countries.

Appalling progress

The report put together by the African Union and the African Development Bank ranked Benin and Seychelles top of the Index.

These two countries offer visa-free access to all Africans without conditions.

Benin is only the second country on the continent to offer visa-free access to all African countries and the first Francophone country to do so.

Rwanda has also moved up the rankings to No. 3 after improving access for nine countries on the continent.

But the progress being made in executing a visa free Africa policy doesn’t excite many who continue to experience challenges.

The Kigali Global Shapers, an offshoot of the World Economic Forum launched a petition to push for a Visa Free Africa.

Petition for change

The petition reads in part that “Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, yet African citizens face some of the most stringent visa restrictions globally.

There are hundreds of stories of missed opportunities – lost job opportunities, a student who couldn’t take up an internship, a doctor that had to give up speaking at a conference, an entrepreneur that lost a promising piece of business when he couldn’t attend a business meeting.”

The petition which has secured 5,000 signatures so far also stated that “Africa’s current population of over a billion is expected to double by 2050.

A Visa Free Africa will help boost tourism revenues, foster new business opportunities, facilitate economic growth and increase employment.”

The African Union is set to roll out its ambitions free trade area in 2020 and making travels across the continent for Africans would be key.

The African experience

Across social media many Africans have shared their stories of how visa restrictions have affected them.

Source: Africafeeds.com

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