After I wrote an article early last year on the struggles of traveling in Africa on an African passport, I was overwhelmed by the reactions from other Africans who could relate to my experiences.
At the time I was in the process of planning a four-country Francophone West Africa road trip and only sheer wanderlust and love of my continent kept me pushing along to get the visas. Just around that same time, the African Development Bank (AFBD) released its inaugural Africa visa openness report that confirmed it was easier for North Americans and Europeans to travel in Africa than it was for Africans. I was not surprised.
There have been some positive changes in the past year. According to the second edition of the AFDB report, it has become easier within the past year for Africans to travel within the continent. At least a third of African countries have liberalized their visa policies in the past year and this trend is expected to continue. Most African countries have either gone up in the visa openness scores or remained at the same level as before.
Even as visa restrictions are reducing on the continent, there is much to be said about the actual process when one needs a visa.
Other good news is that what the naysayers said would happen with increased intra-African travel (increased crime, terrorism, influx.) has not come to pass. Seychelles—which is classified as a high-income country—has no visa requirements for any Africans and this has been in place for years.
Rwanda, another forerunner in visa openness, offering visa on arrival for almost all African countries, saw a 22% annual growth in African tourists from 2015-2016, but only considered 0.045% of all visitors as suspicious individuals. In 2015, a quarter of all tourists visiting Mauritius were African. Africans are traveling in Africa despite the challenges.
To read the full article, click here -> Quartz