Editorial: Time to make progress on the Africa visa-free project
One of the significant moments at the recently concluded summit of the African Union, AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was the ascension of Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda onto the chairmanship of the body.
And very significantly, he promised to put on the front-burner the need to ensure that the dream and drive for a borderless continent that can be freely accessed and safely explored by all of the peoples of the continent would be stridently pursued within his term in office.
As a newspaper that has deeply researched the pros and cons of the visa-free scheme and which at its Africa Day 2017 colloquium held on May 25, 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria hosted a session on the subject, ‘Making the All-Africa Passport Work,’ it is our pleasure and joy to wholeheartedly endorse this affirmation and to similarly pledge our support and cooperation for its realization and success.
We note already the strides recorded by trail-blazing nations like Ghana and Rwanda that have already commenced the implementation of the scheme. We also note that the dream of a united, borderless Africa has been a pre-eminent sentiment among generations of Africans, and spread across locations within the continent and the African diaspora.
Of course there are challenges of language, security, multiple trading currencies, religion, culture, etc, that would come with the practical implementation of the package but the reality already is that many African states are already engaged in the resolution of similar concerns within their own national borders. So we can very well take the new challenges that would come in a similar or expanded fashion.
On the other hand is the anticipated boom in tourism and related businesses that the new visa-free era would almost automatically engender, leading to opportunities for greater revenue and income boosts for many. This is in addition to intangible benefits like greater mutual understanding among the colonially-separated peoples of Africa.
And if the accelerated implementation by the 55 member states of the AU is is all that the 30th Summit of Heads of States of the African Union and particularly, the chairmanship of President Kagame would ultimately deliver, then it will indeed be a fitting era of progress for the good people of the mother continent.