The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has declared that the country will grant visa-free travel to Africans to boost free movement of people and trade.
This decision positions Rwanda as the latest African nation to adopt such a measure, joining others in the pursuit of a more integrated continent to rival Europe’s Schengen zone.
The Schengen zone, consisting of 27 European countries, has successfully eliminated the need for passports and various border control measures at their shared borders.
Local media reports that Kagame revealed his plans on Thursday during a speech in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
Kagame emphasised the immense potential of Africa as a unified tourism destination.
Currently, the continent heavily depends on tourists from outside Africa, accounting for 60% of its total visitors, according to data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
“Any African can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish and they will not pay a thing to enter our country,” said Kagame during the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
“We should not lose sight of our own 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,” he said.
Rwanda is poised to become the latest African nation to eliminate travel restrictions for fellow Africans, following in the footsteps of Gambia, Benin, and Seychelles.
Similarly, in a recent development, Kenya’s President William Ruto has revealed plans to allow visa-free travel to Kenya for all Africans by December 31.