President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has taken a significant step towards promoting the free movement of people and boosting trade within Africa.

Rwanda opens visa-free travel to Africans
Rwanda opens visa-free travel to Africans

In a groundbreaking announcement, he declared the elimination of visa requirements for Africans visiting Rwanda. This move places Rwanda alongside other African nations pursuing greater continental integration, reminiscent of Europe’s Schengen zone known for passport-free and borderless travel among 27 European countries.

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President Kagame unveiled this decision in Kigali, emphasizing the potential of Africa as a unified tourism destination. Currently, the continent heavily relies on visitors from outside Africa, constituting 60% of total tourists, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

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During the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council, President Kagame highlighted the significance of this policy shift, stating, “Any African can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish, and they will not pay a thing to enter our country. We should not lose sight of our continental market. Africans are the future of global tourism as our middle class continues to grow at a fast pace in the decades to come.”

Rwanda’s decision aligns with a growing trend in the continent. Gambia, Benin, Seychelles, and Kenya have already adopted similar policies. President William Ruto of Kenya has recently revealed plans to extend visa-free travel to Kenya for all Africans by December 31, contributing to the momentum for enhanced regional and continental integration.

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