Ethiopia To Make Trips For African Travelers Much Easier
By Parker Diakite
Ethiopia’s president, Mulatu Teshome, has announced that Africans traveling to Ethiopia will now be able to get visas on arrival, according to a statement on the Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels’ website.
Teshome’s announcement means that Africans will no longer be required to apply for a visa to visit Ethiopia beforehand.
The president made his remarks during the opening a new session of the country’s parliament in Addis Ababa and comes amid recent reports outlining the difficulties African nationals have traveling within the continent compared to other tourists.
African nations were supposed to scrap visa requirements for all Africans by 2018, but to date, only 22 percent of African countries allow for African foreign nationals to enter visa-free, according to the BBC.
A statement on the Ethiopian Embassy website reads: “The African Union’s promise of easy travel for Africans throughout the continent is still some way off, but Ethiopia is taking a step towards helping that become a reality.”
Fitsum Arega, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, tweeted that “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.”
Ethiopia now joins other countries like Ghana, Benin, Seychelles, Kenya, and Namibia in easing visa requirements for African nationals. Their efforts probably have to do with the African Union’s African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement that calls for all African countries to all African travelers to enter their respective countries by issuing visas on arrival by 2023.
Based on the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. African countries are expected to allow African travellers to enter their territories by issuing visa on arrival by 2023.https://t.co/ISgZPR4YB7 pic.twitter.com/orAZtpvX9V
— Ethiopian Mission EU (@EthiopiaEU) October 9, 2018
Despite the AU’s initiative toward creating a borderless continent, governments have been reluctant to proceed with the agreement.
As reported in the BBC, it’s easier for tourists with a European passport to enter many African countries freely. For example, citizens from only 15 African nations can travel to South Africa without a visa, while passport holders representing more than 25 European countries can enter South Africa without a visa.