© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Nigeria ranks 30th in 2019 Africa Visa Openness index
FOR the first time, African travellers have liberal access to over half the continent, the 2019 Africa Visa Openness Index published by the African Union Commission and African Development Bank, has revealed.
According to the 32 pages study launched on Monday at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg South Africa, with focus on the Agenda 2063, the report showed that there were positive developments across Africa in easing the mobility of African citizens across the continent.
A number of Africa’s regional blocs also showed improvements with the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) countries achieving a 100 per cent on open reciprocity the highest in the region.
However, Nigeria Ranked 30th amongst African nations on the index. In addition, the report showed that Nigeria was not among the 32 countries to have signed the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons (PFMP) and also not among the 26 countries to have ratified the African Continental
Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ranked among the top 20 countries on visa, openness is Mauritania in North Africa ranked first place, in West Africa, was Benin, Cabon Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Togo.
In East Africa, Comoro, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, Ethiopia (moving from 32nd position in the previous year) and Uganda made the list while Madagascar, Mauritius, and Mozambique were among the only three South African countries to have also made the top 20’s.
Seychelles and Benin are the top-performing countries, offering visa-free access to all Africans.
According to the report, over half of the top 20 countries hold the most favourable passports for African travel which indicates that more liberal policies can promote their own citizens’ ease to travel.
The report showed that 47 countries improved or maintained their visa openness scores in 2019 as African visitors no longer need a visa to travel to a quarter of other African countries.
However, despite the improvement seen in the report, it is only a one per cent change from what was obtained in 2016 with only 26 per cent of Africans able to get visas on arrival in other African countries in 2019, while 49 per cent Africans in 2019 need visas to travel to other African countries –a decrease from recorded 51 per cent in 2018.
Currently, only 21 African countries out of the 54 African nations offer e-visa to make travel more accessible, an increment from 16 countries in 2018, 13 in 2017, and 9 in 2016.
The Africa Visa Openness Index measures how open African countries are in issuing visas, judging from questions asked citizens from other countries in Africa when they travel, ease of accessing visas before arrival, on arrival and or if other African citizens can visit a particular African country without a visa.