According to the AU 2063 agenda, there will be a single African Union passport that permits freedom and shared development among African nations. Africa anxiously anticipates a lot of positive and developmental changes, but most striking is the vision of a border-less Africa with a prospect that by 2018, visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries should have been abolished; thereby promoting more regional interaction and integration. Rwanda and Mauritius are already complying with the idea.
A border-less yet restrictive Africa will be of a lot of benefit for the African populace. In alliance with the Pan-African ideals, this step will be a starting point in unifying African nations for the better. The AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr Aisha Abdullahi made this public during the recently held Africities summit in Johannesburg on Sunday, November 29, 2015. By direct implication, there is bound to be a sort of amendment to the existing visa policies, making it a lot more liberal to sustain intra-national relations and mutual interests. On this note, such organizations as Schengen and Ecowas come to mind. These organizations are prototypes of the single African Union Passport concept.
ECOWAS for one has made intra-African trade and distribution within west Africa an economic asset for member states. The sole objectives for this West African Organisation are: promoting economic integration within the region and internationally; serving as a potential tool in peacekeeping situations; partaking in regional developments. All these are the similar intentions and visions of the AU when they declared the single passport agenda.
Though regulated, Africans get to have more access to their motherland, enjoying free movement, easier commercial activities and indeed fully witnessing Africa’s unity in diversity. A step like this will most probably reduce the xenophobic tendencies in the continent. By making the single passport agenda a priority, some inherent questions rise – Will all African nations comply? And if some don’t, what could be their reason to decline?
Security is the first worry given the times we are in. Some African nations like Nigeria have had an over dose of terrorist attacks. As a measure to check this oddity, being “liberal” with the borders might not be such an easy decision to take because it concerns national security and demands huge adjustments like adopting open sky policies. It is logical however that before the use of the single AU passport, there should be adequate considerations made for threatened nations and security-targeted policies upheld in earnest. It is also in the AU agenda 2063, that such concerns as principles of democracy, rule of law, security and ICT advancements, electronic visas, regional bloc visas and visa-on-arrival schemes will be greatly tackled. In this case, Africa truly has the potential to implement a single passport policy.
In all, Africa’s investment and tourism will flourish as African Development Bank have detected progress in Rwanda and Mauritius owing to their open visa policy systems. More so, Africa’s domestic and intra-national tourism will be drastically high. It is funny that some amazing landmarks and treasures within the African continent are alien to Africans themselves. For instance, till Cecil, the lion‘s brutal death, the “internationally famous” lion was not even known in Africa. Hopefully the single passport policy might be the point of a great start in Africa’s development.