Photograph — Findall News

Ethiopia has promised to begin a visa-on-arrival policy for Africans coming into the country soon. This was revealed by its president Mulatu Teshome while speaking at the opening of a new session of the country’s parliament this week.

“A relaxed visa regime will enhance both Ethiopia’s openness and will allow the country to harness the significant stopover transit traffic of Fly Ethiopian,” he said.

This new policy means that Africans would not necessarily need to apply for Ethiopian visas in their home country before flying to Ethiopia. They would only need to fly into the country and have their visas stamped at the point of entry.

In June 2018, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed announced that Ethiopia had begun to issue visas to visitors online, in a move many analysts think would be welcoming to foreign investors and tourists. These new policies will also strengthen state-owned airline, Ethiopian Airlines’ ability to land in many countries and boost its status as Africa’s biggest airline.

Visa-on-arrival policies also ensure quite a lots of revenue for immigration offices and give the host countries discretion over who can get into the country, and if visitors can afford to stay in the country.

Other African countries with visa-on-arrival policies include Ghana, Rwanda, and Kenya who have consequently seen an increase in visitors to their countries. Seychelles remains the only African country that visa-free travel is allowed for Africans, and also to citizens of other countries. Rwanda also has a 30 days visa-on-arrival policy for travellers from around the world, a policy which began on the 1st of January this year. Citizens from Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Haiti, Senegal, Seychelles, and Sao Tome and Principe get visas with 90 days validity.

The African Union announced in 2016 that it would introduce a new African Union passport that would guarantee visa-free travel for Africans to any country on the continent by 2020. Presently, African diplomats and presidents are using the African Union passport. However, the non-implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement signed earlier this year will make it harder to implement visa-free travel across all African countries.

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