NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – The African Union has launched its continental passport at the ongoing AU Summit in Kigali.
This is according to Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed who disclosed that Heads of State and Foreign Affairs Ministers will be the first recipients of the document which allows holders free movement throughout the continent.
Others set to receive the passport are leadership of the representatives of the AU Executive Councils and Organs.
“The African passport was launched earlier on today. As we speak, I am about to receive mine,” Mohamed said during the ongoing United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi.
Mohamed said that the passport will completely remove the requirement for visas in all the 54 countries on the continent making travelling much easier.
She added that the passport will benefit travellers especially business people who can finally move around with ease.
“Rolling it out will however take a while and we cannot state a date when it shall be implemented. We are therefore testing it out first to see if it works.”
The African Common Visa Policy is under African Union 2063 Agenda – which was first proposed in 2013 – and is expected to profoundly impact the continent in terms of intra-regional trade, economic development and regional integration.
As it is, African countries require visas to travel to 55 percent of countries within the continent, according to the Visa Openness Index 2016.
The launch comes at a time when Ghana has just instituted a visa-upon-arrival scheme for all AU residents after the country’s President John Dramani Mahama announced the policy in February, saying it would stimulate trade and tourism.
It also comes at the back of the ongoing implementation of the East African Community single tourist visa which is available to Kenyans, Ugandans and Rwandans.