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Rwanda and Kenya introduce visa-free travel for all Africans

Rwanda and Kenya have made significant strides in promoting African unity by opening their borders to other Africans, enabling visa-free travel for all citizens of the continent. This move positions Rwanda as the fourth African nation to remove such restrictions, following Benin, The Gambia, and Seychelles. Kenya is set to join them on December 31, 2023.

Driving Forces Behind the Shift

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has been a vocal advocate for visa-free travel within Africa, envisioning the continent as a "unified tourism destination." He recognizes that as Africa's middle class expands, the continent holds immense potential to become the "future of global tourism."

The African Passport and the AfCFTA: Paving the Way for a Unified Africa

In line with this vision, the African Union introduced the African passport in 2016, facilitating freedom of movement similar to that within the European Union. While initially limited to diplomats and African Union officials, the passport's scope is expected to broaden in the future.

Furthermore, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), established in 2021, has created a unified market for the continent's 1.3 billion people. This vast market, with an estimated value of $3.4 trillion, holds the potential to boost regional income by 7%, accelerate wage growth for women, and lift 30 million out of poverty by 2035.

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