Kenya softens visa conditions for Africans

Comoros president Ikililou Dhoinine (l) with his Botswana counterpart Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama. Photo/PSCU

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12- Any African passport holder will now obtain visa upon arrival in Kenya, in efforts to champion free movement of persons on the continent.

Making the announcement during the Kenya at 50 celebrations on Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta however said this would be on a reciprocity basis, in a bid to boost intra-African trade.

In addition, any African visitor to Kenya will be allowed to stay for up to six months, on condition that they don’t compromise security.

“Kenya will champion, with our African brothers and sisters, the free movement of persons on the continent,” he said, “As Africa grows, so Kenya grows. We are taking radical steps to help our country grow faster.”

The two steps are among five measures the Kenya government plans to take promoting cooperation in the African Continent.

He said his government will also work towards enhancing cooperation in African air travel policies to grow trade.

Kenya is also ready to partner with countries in the southern, central, western and northern regions, to fast-track the implementation of the recently adopted Continental Free Trade Area.

“In order to sustain and enhance this momentum, it is absolutely necessary to accelerate the implementation of the continental integration agenda especially as relates to infrastructure development, food security, and the free movement of people, goods and services,” he said.

He said there was need to promote peace in the continent adding that peace was crucial for any economic growth.

“Africa is taking greater responsibility for security on the continent. Africa’s peace building efforts in the Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are testimony to a new approach that will serve our continent well,” the head of state noted.

Kenyatta called on the African states to embrace cooperation which he said will play a great role in intra-African trade and be able to compete with the West.

In Eastern Africa, the EAC Partner States have committed to a customs union; achieving a monetary union; and eventually, our aim is to achieve a political federation.

Concurrently the EAC in partnership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are negotiating a Tripartite Free Trade Area.

MARGARET WAHITO :Margaret has been a business reporter for the past four years. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications and Public Relations from Moi University. She also holds a diploma in Film and Video production from the Kenya institute of Mass Communications. Apart from journalism, she has interest in community work, especially helping the disadvantaged.