, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Foreign residents in Kenya with valid work or resident permits can now travel to Rwanda and Uganda without need to apply for a visa or pay visa fees.
The residents will be issued with a free interstate pass as they leave Kenya and the same benefit will be extended to foreign residents in Rwanda and Uganda who wish to visit Kenya.
“All Foreign residents are now being issued with a free Interstate passes at the airport of departure for admission to the destination. Rwanda and Uganda implemented this reform on Dec 15, 2014 but the impact only became real when Kenya effected the directive albeit with government communication challenges,” Waturi Matu, Coordinator of the East African Tourism Platform told Capital Business.
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda entered into an agreement last year that allows Kenyan and Rwandan citizens to use their ID cards to move within the three states while Ugandans can use their voter cards and Rwandan minors can use their student cards as a travel document.
The extension of this benefit to foreign residents is meant to further boost the three governments’ efforts at encouraging free movement of people, goods and services between their countries and in turn boost their economies.
East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie told Capital Business that Kenya is especially keen to bolster its tourism numbers through regional integration.
Kenya’s tourism sector has suffered from Al Shabaab terror attacks last year that led to travel advisories issued by its traditional source markets in Europe.
The easing of regional travel is also in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Pan Africanist vision.
In his 2013 Jamhuri Day address he announced that anyone with an African passport can obtain a visa to Kenya on arrival for visits less than six months long on the principle of reciprocity.
Last month Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed East Africa’s efforts at integration saying it would not only bolster intra-African trade but provide a larger market for foreign investors.