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Nigeria says no plan to issue visas on arrival for all Africans

Lagos – Nigeria’s government says it has no plans to start issuing visas on arrival for all Africans.

The African Union’s political affairs office had tweeted on Friday that Nigeria announced the plan at a retreat for permanent representatives to the continental body.

Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, told The Associated Press on Sunday: “It is not true that we have any such plans.”

Africans need visas to travel to 55% of the continent, according to AU figures, and officials say that hurts trade.

 The AU has advocated for a single African passport and for abolishing visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.

Ghana, Rwanda, Mauritius and the Seychelles already issue visas on arrival to all African passport holders.

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Africa: Visa-Free Africa By 2018 – Where Does Rwanda Lie?

In 2013, the African Union adopted Agenda 63, as a blueprint to propel the continent to prosperity within the next 50 years.

As part of the agenda, African countries committed to abolishing visa requirements for all African citizens travelling within the continent by 2018.

According to the second Africa Visa Openness Index, released mid this year, 75 per cent of the countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries are in either Eastern or West Africa, while 20 per cent are in Southern Africa.

Only one country in the top 20 most open to visas is in North Africa (Mauritania), while no countries in Central Africa appear in the top 20.

On January 1, 2013, Rwanda eased visa requirements for African nationals.

All holders of African passports travelling to or transiting through the country are issued an entry visa upon arrival at any Rwandan entry point. And, some countries do not require visas at all.

For Rwandans, however, of the 53 African countries, only 29 allow holders of the Rwandan passport to enter without a visa or issue it on arrival.

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Why is Rwanda booming?

  • South Korea is a major foreign investor in Rwanda’s blossoming tech scene
  • The two countries share geographical features and have similar recent histories, which has helped foster a mutual understanding
  • KT Corporation, the first South Korean company in Rwanda, has plans to use its base in the country as a hub from which to expand further into Africa

While China snakes its influence in technology across the African continent, one of its smaller neighbors has also been making inroads in countries far from home. South Korea, one of the Far East’s technological powerhouses, claims to have a stronghold in the central African country of Rwanda.

The unlikely story begins with KT Corporation (KT), a South Korean telecoms giant, which started helping to form the backbone to Rwanda’s communications infrastructure a decade ago. The state-owned company currently builds and operates ICT services in Rwanda’s public and private markets, and provides a 4G service in partnership with the Rwandan government.

Surprising common ground

Korea re-opened its embassy in the Rwandan capital of Kigali in 2011 after closure due to conflict. “Surprisingly there is a great deal of common ground between the two countries,” Lee Dong Ku, deputy chief of mission at the Korean embassy in Rwanda, told CNBC.

South Korea shares a common geography and history with Rwanda which sets the relationship apart from other international players. For starters, both countries are small and mountainous with few natural resources, which in turn means a greater focus on innovation.
South Korea and Rwanda have also both suffered under colonial rule and experienced devastating conflict following independence: the Korean war of the early 1950s and Rwanda’s 1994 genocide against the Tutsi tribe. “This shared experience in modern history strikes a chord with Korean people,” Lee said.

Rwandans in turn look towards South Korea’s “quick recovery from conflict,” and “fast-paced socio-economic development,” Claudette Irere, director general for ICT at Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT, told CNBC.

According to a profile of Rwanda’s ICT sector released in December 2015, the field recorded an average growth that year of 16 percent, steaming ahead of the rest of the economy which grew at 6.9 percent. In 2015, the ICT sector contributed 3 percent to the country’s gross domestic product.

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