The Republic of Benin plans to impose visa on arrival policy for all Africans. This makes the West African country the latest to relax its visa laws in favour of the AU’s pan-African agreement.
President Patrice Talon revealed that Benin plans to impose visa on arrival policy for all Africans during a visit to Rwanda. During his three-day visit to the east African country, he stated that he would love to borrow a leaf from Rwanda’s visa policy by opening Benin’s borders to African visitors.
‘‘Learning from Rwanda, I have decided that Benin will no longer require visas for other Africans,” President Talon said.
This shows that Africa is committed to the African Union 2063 vision of a seamless border. The AU appealed to African states to review their policies to “implement mechanisms allowing for the issuing of visas on arrival for citizens of Member States, with the possibility of a 30-day stay”.
As a result of the appeal, previous months has seen various states adopt a more relaxed visa policy in commitment to the African Union’s 2063 agenda.
In March and July respectively, Ghana and Namibia announced their plans to introduce a visa-on-arrival policy to African nationals.Other African countries have been slow to implementing a relaxed visa policy.
In May, Nigeria made an announcement to introduce a visa-free policy with 8 African states. The Nigerian government has the aim of fostering trade and a Schengen-style ease of movement in Africa.
The * to open Africa’s borders to other Africans has been echoed by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The organisation launched the African Visa Openness index to monitor African states’ visa policies.
According to AfDB, “visa openness is about facilitating free movement of people. It is about getting more people mobile, to carry out their business easily, spontaneously, quickly, with minimum cost.”
The organisation has also published a top 10 list that sees Rwanda and Mauritius at the top.