All Africans will be allowed to enter Rwanda without a visa, the country is the latest nation on the continent to announce such a measure aimed at boosting the free movement of people and trade to rival Europe’s Schengen zone.
On Thursday, President Paul Kagame made the announcement in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where he pitched the potential of Africa as “a unified tourism destination” for a continent that still relies on 60% of its tourists from outside Africa, based on data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
This bold step aligns with a broader trend across the continent. Just days earlier, Kenya’s President William Ruto had announced similar plans to permit visa-free travel to Kenya for all Africans by December 31.
Rwanda’s implementation of this policy will make it the fourth African nation to eliminate travel restrictions for fellow Africans, following in the footsteps of Gambia, Benin, and Seychelles.
The African Union (AU) introduced the African passport in 2016, aiming to emulate the European Union model by “unleashing the potential of the continent.”
However, thus far, only diplomats and AU officials have been granted this travel document.
The African Passport and the broader concept of free movement of people within the continent are designed to remove barriers hindering Africans from travelling, working, and residing in their own countries.
Furthermore, the AU has launched the African Continental Free Trade Area, a continent-wide free trade agreement with an estimated value of $3.4 trillion.
This initiative aims to establish a unified market for Africa’s 1.3 billion people, ultimately fostering economic development and growth.
Rwanda’s decision reflects a shared commitment to enhancing intra-African trade and cooperation.