The African Union has formed about 25 years ago, but it is for the first time in history they are considering visa-free travel among the member names. African Union Summit adopted a protocol on January 29th, 2018 for allowing free movement of people, right to residence and conducting business for country members of the African Economic Community.
All 55 countries of the African continent are eligible for free movement. Donald Trump’s speech in 2017 motivated the AU heads to rethink about visa-free travel. He said why should America welcome immigrants from places like Africa. The policy will come into action after 15 African nations ratify it. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman, AU Commission, started the opening session of the summit, saying that adopting the protocol stops treating Africans as strangers in their own continent. It motivates freedom of movement, which is an essential goal of Agenda 2063, and also enters a treaty with the African Economic Community.
The African Economic Community already practices visa-free travel among its member nations. Economic Community of West African States has a common passport for all its nation citizens. The East African Community also has a standard passport. It is a great advantage for the local citizens. The African island of Seychelles ranks first in offering all African countries visa-free entry. Western Sahara is the last as it demands entry visa from all African nations.
Implementation of the protocol
It is an ambitious project, and the African Union has developed a plan for implementing the protocol. They are planning to implement by December 2018; all members should provide visa-on-arrival service to all African nations. By the end of 2023, all members nations should abolish visa for other African countries and also implement the right to the residence around the same time. Benefits of the protocol are many including intra-African trade boost, comprehensive border management, and improve labor mobility.