Let’s support free visa initiative
Let’s support free visa initiative

Let’s support free visa initiative

Ghana will, by the end of this year, join the list of countries that will grant visa-free entry to all African visitors.

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Kenya and Rwanda have recently announced visa-free travel for all Africans in line with the African Union’s plan for the free movement of people.

In 2022, Benin, The Gambia and Seychelles had already implemented a system of visa-free access for all Africans.

This decision comes in the wake of recent moves between Ghana and South Africa to allow visa-free travel for both African countries.

The visa waiver applies to holders of ordinary passports, who are allowed to stay in the other country for up to 90 days within a calendar year.

For Ghana, the decision to institute a visa-free entry for Africans aligns with the country’s broader efforts to strengthen ties with the Diaspora and establish itself as an inviting and accessible hub.

President Akufo-Addo said the government was committed to achieving visa-free access for all Africans.

He made this commitment at the opening of the 2024 Africa Prosperity Dialogue, which was on the theme: "Developing Prosperity in Africa: Produce, Add Value and Trade."

This commitment aims to establish a unified market across the continent, fostering economic growth, generating employment opportunities, and eliminating poverty.

For us, as the government explores this possibility, it reflects a strategic effort to boost tourism, enhance cultural exchange, and celebrate the shared heritage of people of African descent across the globe.

The African Union policies support freer intra continental trade, investment and movement of people to promote the continent’s economic, social and political development. 

Encouraging cross-border mobility of goods and individuals is one of the main objectives of the free-visa policy in Africa. More freedom of movement among individuals facilitates cross-border trade for firms, which boosts economic cooperation as well as development on the continent.

If Ghana proceeds with the implementation of visa waivers, it will further strengthen the country’s position as a leading advocate for continental integration. 

The country has long been recognised for its commitment to Pan-African ideals and its role in hosting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.

The continent has made progress on the aspects of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement that deal with trade and investment.

But there has not been much progress on the free movement of people, which the trade agreement requires.

The Daily Graphic welcomes this move by the government to grant free visas to Africans because it will enable us to advance economic integration as well.

The initiative will also draw in foreign investment, encourage innovation, and participation in global value chains to facilitate a more interconnected and linked Africa that will position it to compete more strongly and successfully on the world stage.

Again, unrestricted migration can also foster cross-cultural exchanges, allowing individuals from various African nations to become more familiar with one another's languages, traditions, and customs and enhance higher levels of comprehension and cohesion among African nations.

Given the overall economic activity and improved mobility of labour, there is potential for additional job possibilities across a range of industries, which could help to lower poverty and unemployment.

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Free visa policies will help maintain the region's stability by encouraging greater relations and interaction among African countries, which lowers the likelihood of conflicts resulting from boundary issues or migration-related concerns. 

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