The news that Ghana has introduced a visa-on-arrival policy is being celebrated by Africans across the continent.
Ghana recently commemorated its 59th year of independence and President John Dramani Mahama revealed that beginning in July, the country will offer visa-on-arrival to citizens of all African Union (AU) member countries.
In his address President Mahama said, “With effect from July this year, we will be allowing citizens of AU Member States to enter – our country and obtain visas on arrival with the option to stay for up to thirty days and experience what our country has to offer. This measure, with time, should stimulate air travel, trade, investment and tourism”.
The policy will facilitate the freer movement of Africans into Ghana. However, Africans have decried the restrictive visa regimes of fellow African countries.
Al Qaeda attack #Ivorycoast. Journalists with west african + european passports enter easily, Other AFRICANS go2 embassy, apply 4 visa
— harumutasa/aljazeera (@harumutasa) March 14, 2016
Then when you arrive they scrutinise u like crazy….but still love Abidjan…just wish we could be visa free https://t.co/cI820FWcI7
— Nyasha (@einyasha) March 14, 2016
The recently launched Africa Visa Openness Index, a guide by the African Development Bank (AfDB) reveals how Africa remains largely closed off to African citizens.
According to AfDB, “on average Africans need visas to travel to 55% of other African countries, can get visas on arrival in only 25% of other countries and don’t need a visa to travel to just 20% of other countries on the continent”.
AfDB recommends that African countries should promote more visa-free regional blocs, push for greater reciprocity, and introduce more visa on arrival policies for Africans.
The AU Commission has welcomed Ghana’s new visa policy, and says it hopes other countries will implement similar visa policies to facilitate free movement across the continent.
— Donald Kaberuka (@DonaldKaberuka) March 6, 2016
I'm so proud of Ghana, the Black Star of Africa, for removing visa restriction for all Africans. Osagyefo's Pan-African spirit lives!
— Molara Wood (@molarawood) March 13, 2016
Source: African Union