The Single African Passport Is Closer Than We Think
By DeAnna Taylor
If you keep up on intra-Africa travel, you will know that citizens on the continent cannot freely travel between countries.
Many African travelers must seek visas to travel from one place to the other unless they have an actual passport for the other country. This issue causes the fees to add up very quickly, especially for those who frequently travel for business.
For instance, those traveling to Angola must pay $55 for a visa, Sierra Leone is $95, and the Democratic Republic of Congo charges up to $475 for a multi-entry visa.
The African Union (AU) passport, a flagship project of the organization has been making a push to have a single passport approved for all 55 African nations. The African Union passport was first unveiled in 2016 when Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Chadian President Idriss Déby received the first documents to offer visa-free travel through the Union.
Some government officials, diplomats, and AU members have already been issued the passport. These same leaders met in Nairobi in 2018, to try to work out the details of actually issuing the document to residents.
In a statement, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, promised that “in February 2019, in Addis Ababa, at the 32nd Summit of our Union, the Commission will present, for adoption, guidelines on the design, production and issuance of the African passport, the materialization of which will take us one step closer to the long-held dream of complete free movement across the continent.”
“With a single African passport, it would be a lot easier to do business more quickly and affordably,” argued Oz Desai, Johannesburg-based general manager of Corporate Traveller, a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group. “A single African passport – and the consequent breaking down of the barriers to travel – could bring significant prosperity and growth for the continent.”
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.