Ghana has begun to offer visas on arrival to citizens of all 54 African Union member states. Ghana is now the third country in the continent after Mauritius and Rwanda to allow visas on arrival for all Africans.
Ghana’s new visa policy is big news in Africa because travelling in the continent is not easy for Africans. “Nationals from African countries complain often about the humiliations they go through to get visas for Europe and the United States but the process for African visas is often just as frustrating,” writes one analyst.
The policy, which took effect July 1, allows citizens of African Union member states to obtain visas of up to 30 days on arrival in the country. This policy does not affect citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who can enter the country without a visa.
The African Union (AU) launched a single continental passport on 17 July at the opening ceremony of the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Initially, the e-Passport will be available only to AU heads of state, foreign ministers and permanent representatives based at the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The plan is to roll it out to all AU citizens by 2018 and it’s expected to ease movement on the continent. Currently, many member states place severe restrictions on the entry of other African nationals owing to concerns about immigration or loss of sovereignty, not to mention fears of terrorism and smuggling.