File picture: President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, speaking at the London Summit on Family Planning. Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development/Flickr
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Rwanda considers waiving visa fees for African and Commonwealth visitors

Rwanda is considering scrapping visa fees for citizens of African Union member states, Commonwealth, and La Francophonie member countries. President Paul Kagame made the announcement, which has be widely applauded.

Rwanda is considering scrapping visa fees for citizens of the Commonwealth, the African Union and La Francophonie member countries reports say. President Paul Kagame made the announcement, which has be widely applauded.

President Kagame made the announcement in London at the International School for Government at King’s College.

“…We are soon considering exempting citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as the African Union and the Francophonie, from paying visa fees when entering Rwanda,” President Kagame reportedly said.

If implemented, the move will be a major step, which will boost tourism and open other business opportunities for the country because of the easy access by African and foreign nationals visiting the country.

Rwanda has made laudable steps towards improving the free movement of African and global citizens visiting the country. 

From January 1, 2018, Rwanda started implementing a global visa-free policy for all travellers in which all visitors could get 30 days visa on arrival, without prior application, upon paying a prescribed visa fee. Before that, only passport holders from African countries and a few other countries were getting visas upon arrival at Rwanda entry points. 

Read:Sierra Leone introduces visa-on-arrival policy for all African nationals

Citizens from some countries were required to pay a visa fee where applicable. A communique released by the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration in 2017 (November) said Rwanda would grant visas free of charge with 90 days validity to these countries (travelling on ordinary passports): Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Haiti, Senegal, Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe, in addition to the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Africa Member Community Partner States, Mauritius, Philippines and Singapore.

The proposed scrapping of visa fees for citizens of AU member states, Commonwealth, and La Francophonie member countries is expected to further enhance Rwanda’s position as a preferred location for business meetings and events. 

International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) – a global meeting industry network last year ranked Rwanda as the second most popular destination for international conferences and events on the continent. Rwanda’s capital Kigali  was ranked as the second most popular destination in Africa behind Cape Town, for international meetings and events.

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