Rwanda announces visa-free travel for all Africans, Kenya to follow suit

Rwanda revealed its decision to permit visa-free travel for Africans, joining a growing number of African nations adopting this policy to promote the free movement of people and facilitate trade, akin to Europe’s Schengen zone.

President Paul Kagame unveiled this initiative in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, emphasizing the potential for Africa to become a unified tourism destination. 

This move is particularly significant as Africa still depends on 60% of its tourists from outside the continent, as reported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

“Any African, can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish and they will not pay a thing to enter our country” said Kagame during the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

“We should not lose sight of our own continental market,” he said. “Africans are the future of global tourism as our middle class continues to grow at a fast pace in the decades to come.”

Once implemented, Rwanda will become the fourth African country to remove travel restrictions for Africans. Other countries that have waived visas to African nationals are Gambia, Benin and Seychelles.

Kenya’s President William Ruto announced Monday plans to allow all Africans to travel to the East African nation visa-free by December 31.

“Visa restrictions amongst ourselves is working against us. When people cannot travel, business people cannot travel, entrepreneurs cannot travel we all become net losers” said Ruto at an international summit in Congo Brazzaville.


The African Union in 2016 launched an African passport with much fanfare, saying it would rival the European Union model in “unleashing the potential of the continent.” However, only diplomats and AU officials have been issued the travel document so far.

The African Passport and free movement of people is “aimed at removing restrictions on Africans ability to travel, work and live within their own continent,” The AU says on its website.

AU also launched the African Continental Free Trade Area, a continent-wide free trade area estimated to be worth $3.4 trillion, which aims to create a single unified market for the continent’s 1.3 billion people and to boost economic development.

Culled from Independent