The African Union (AU) has finally unveiled the much-talked about African passport as part of the bloc’s 2063 Agenda.
The continental passport was launched during the opening of the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Even though this is a great development, there are concerns whether AU member states will begin publishing the African passport immediately in accordance with their visa policies.
The AU dished out a few of the first passports to some leaders including the President of Chad and Chairperson of the AU, Idriss Deby Itno, and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame. The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma did the issuing of the passports.
The introduction of the African passport is expected to give the AU a wider chance to achieve its 2063 Agenda for “a continent with seamless borders”. The passport, AU says, is aimed at facilitating the free movement of people in the continent.
The project, which started last year, also aims to improve intra-African trade and ensure free movements of domestic goods between member states.
How To Obatin The E-African Passport:
African citizens will have to wait for long before they can obtain the passport as the document remains the privilege of heads of government, and diplomats as of yet. Plus only people from member states will have to enjoy this great breakthrough by the AU.
Member states are expected to start producing the passports in accordance with their national visa policies.
The AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma noted on Twitter, “We suggest to the Summit for consideration, that Member states issue the #AfricanPassport to their citizens, within their national policies”.
However, the fact that the issuance of African passport is aligned to national visa policies has raised concerns as to whether African citizens will soon begin to use the travel document even at slow implementation of a similar proposal.
The 30-day visa-on-arrival policy, which AU member states are expected to implement has been quite slow. Just a handful of countries have implemented the visa-on-arrival policy (these include Rwanda, Mauritius and Ghana).
African Development Bank (AfDB) Index alleged that Africa remains largely closed off to African travellers on the average. It cites that nationals of the continent need visas to travel to 55% of other African countries, and can only get visas on arrival in only 25% of other countries.