The countries in both East and West Africa regions have been found to be the most visa-open countries, as contained in the Africa Visa Openness Index Report 2020, recently published by African Development Bank (AfDB).
Africa Visa Openness Index measures which countries in Africa are facilitating travel for citizens of other countries and how.
According to the report,
- “Overall, the most visa-open countries are found in East and West Africa – these two regions accounted for 80 percent of the top 20 most visa-open African countries in 2020. Three countries – The Gambia, Seychelles, and Benin, now offer visa-free access to all African visitors.”
Key Highlights of the Report
- In 2020, Africans did not need a visa to travel to 26% of other African countries and could obtain a visa on arrival in 28% of African countries.
- Similarly, in 2020, Africans needed visas to travel to 46% of other African countries.
- Only 24 countries offer eVisas, reflecting 44% of the continent. This is quite low considering that eVisa can be quite a useful method for streamlining travel processes and facilitating visitor access. Importantly, eVisas can also speed up and secure entry for travellers as most countries respond to the changing travel climate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A lot of African countries need to be more open by, for example, offering visas on arrival for African visitors – only 28% of African countries do. Increased openness and integration are quite vital in developing regional tourism, though this disposition suffered a severe shock due to the pandemic, as most countries closed their borders and tightened their immigration protocols.
The AfCFTA would largely address the critical concerns as well as give the desired impetus for increased open borders and cross-country mobility for economic recovery, allowing Africans to travel, invest, and do business within the continent.