File picture: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: Buhari/Twitter
article comment count is: 0

Nigeria announces decision to start issuing visas on arrival for all Africans

Welcoming African travellers with open arms, Nigeria has announced that it will start issuing visas on arrival for all Africans in a major step towards the goal of encouraging free movement on the continent. The news is being applauded by Africans across the continent.

Nigeria will start issuing visas on arrival for all Africans in a major step towards the goal of encouraging free movement on the continent.

The announcement was reportedly made by Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU) Ambassador Bankole Adeoye.

Kwesi Quartey, the African Union Commission’s Deputy Chairperson commended the announcement. In a Facebook post, Quartey wrote: “Nigeria kicks off the issuance of visas on arrival to all Africans, laudable move towards Africa’s integration agenda. Thanks you Amb. Bankole Adeoye for the announcement”.

The Department of Political Affairs at the AU Commission has also applauded the announcement, commenting in a Twitter post: “Nigeria’s visa on arrival announcement is a welcome push for the #FreedomofMovement agenda of the African Union. #DGTrends #AfricaWeWant”.

Nigeria announced the decision to commence issuance of visa on arrival to all Africans at the just concluded AU retreat for permanent representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the AU’s political affairs office said in a tweet.

Read: Africans applaud Ghana’s visa-on-arrival policy

The news that Nigeria will soon commence issuing visa-on-arrival for all Africans is being celebrated by Africans across the continent on social media.

The planned visa-on-arrival for all Africans policy is a laudable step, which signals Nigeria’s commitment to the AU’s recommendations, calling on member states to implement the 30-day visa-on-arrival policy. The AU has continued its calls for countries to review their visa policies to “implement mechanisms allowing for the issuing of visas on arrival for citizens of Member States, with the possibility of a 30-day stay”.

Various African passport stamps. Photo: Jon Rawlinson/Wiki commons

Last year Ghana started issuing visas-on-arrival to African citizens visiting the country in accordance with the AU recommendation.

Read: Namibia relaxes visa policy: set to introduce visa-on-arrival for African citizens

However, other governments have been rather lethargic in implementing the visa-on-arrival policy with only a few countries having implemented the policy (these include Rwanda, Mauritius and more recently Ghana).

The AU has also advocated for a “single African passport” that aims to improve intra-African trade and has called for “the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.”

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) Index, Africa remains largely closed off to African travellers and 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”. This reality could however soon change as some countries are beginning to show their commitment to calls to open up their borders to the rest of the continent.

Tell us what you think