African Visa Policies Hurting Continent’s Growth – Experts

Experts have warned that visa policies in most African countries are hindering growth on the continent because they stiffle free movement of goods and people.00331159-edbcf1111243c2f3e83aa0a41b65f8f1-arc614x376-w285-us1

The visa policies and regimes have made it difficult for Africans to travel across the continent compared to European or American passport holders, a factor economists say is among the major issues holding back integration.

Going by the Africa Visa Openness report, released in February by the African Development Bank (AfDB), movement across the continent for African passport holders continues to suffer from visa policies.

The report established that, on average, Africans need visas to travel to 55 per cent of other African countries, can get visas on arrival in only 25 per cent of other countries and don’t need a visa to travel to just 20 per cent of other countries on the continent.

Only 13 African countries offer liberal access to Africans, the report established. In terms of regions, the openness index is better for East Africa and West Africa and lower in North Africa. It is much lower for countries in the middle income countries.

AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said that in analysing the recent global price, commodity shocks and its impact on Africa, among the emerging issues was the ease of travel for African passport holders across the continent.

“As we analyse the global price commodity shocks on Africa, it is important that we look at what happens in the regional markets in Africa to reduce the susceptibility of the continent to global price shocks,” Adesina told The New Times in an exclusive interview last week.