From left: President Kenyatta, his wife Margret, Vice-President William Ruto, his wife and African heads of state at the inauguration ceremony in Nairobi on 28 November. The Kenyan leader said offering visas on arrival to all Africans underscores his country’s commitment to Pan-Africanism / Photo: Uhuru Kenyatta on Facebook

Kenya offers visa on arrival to all Africans

Nationals of African countries travelling to Kenya will no longer be required to apply for a visa before leaving for the East African country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the abolition of the pre-visa requirement when he took the oath of office for a second and final term on 28 November in Nairobi.

“Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry,” Kenyatta said.

Speaking after he was sworn-in for his second and last term in office, he noted giving visas on arrival will underscore Kenya’s commitment to Pan-Africanism.

The move is in line with the Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport policy adopted by the African Union at the 27th ordinary session held in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2016. African states are expected to adopt the African passport and work closely with the AU Commission to facilitate its issuance at the national level based on international, continental and national policy provisions and continental design and specifications.

The passport issuance, however, is yet to take off.

AU has set a 2018 deadline for the removal of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.

“To underscore Kenya’s commitment, this shall not be done on the basis of reciprocity,” President Kenyatta said. “The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity, we will become.”

Kenyatta also said nationals of the six-member states that make up the East African Community will be treated as citizens.

“Like your Kenyan brothers and sisters, you will need only your identity card. You can now work, do business; own property, farm and if you wish, and find a willing partner, you can marry and settle in Kenya,” he said.

Only 14 countries offer visas on arrival for Africans. They include Rwanda, Ghana, Seychelles, Uganda, Djibouti, Somalia, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Mozambique and Benin.

After removing visa requirements for African nationals, Rwanda announced in November a new visa regime that allows travellers from all over the world to be issued a 30-day visa on arrival in Kigali, beginning 1 January 2018.

Adira Kallo

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