African countries are on average more closed off to each other than open, making travel within the continent difficult.

According to the recent Africa Visa Openness Report, North Americans have easier travel access to the continent than African themselves, with 45% of African countries requiring a visa, 20% not requiring a visa and 35% providing visas on arrival.

The report asserts that Central Africa and North Africa are the most closed regions, and that the good results in West Africa are due to the Free Movement of Persons Protocol, while in East Africa, there are a high number of visa on arrival policies.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

• Africans need visas to travel to 55% of other countries.
• Africans can get visas on arrival in 25% of other African countries.
• Africans don’t need a visa to travel to 20% of other African countries.
• Less than a quarter of all African countries provide liberal access at entry for all African citizens.
• Only 13 out of 55 countries offer liberal access (visa free or visa on arrival) to all Africans.
• Only 9 African countries offer eVisas: Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Visa openness is about facilitating free movement of people to carry out their business easily, spontaneously, quickly, with minimum cost.

A key aim of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 includes a goal to be a “continent with seamless borders” where “the free movement of people, capital, goods and services will result in significant increases in trade and investments amongst African countries rising to unprecedented levels, and strengthen Africa’s place in global trade”. Greater visa openness is a vital part of the solution in getting Africa to reach that vision.

For more information about the visa openness of Africa, click here.