In a recent announcement, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, declared that Rwanda will offer visa-free travel to Africans, aiming to facilitate the movement of people and enhance trade. This decision aligns Rwanda with other African countries that have implemented similar measures, with the goal of creating a more integrated continent comparable to Europe’s Schengen zone. The Schengen zone, comprised of 27 European nations, has successfully eliminated passport requirements and border control measures at their shared borders.
According to local media reports, Kagame disclosed his plans during a speech in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. He emphasized the significant potential of Africa as a unified tourism destination. Currently, the continent heavily relies on tourists from outside of Africa, accounting for 60% of its total visitors, as indicated by data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
During the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Kagame stated, “Any African can travel to Rwanda by plane at any time without paying an entry fee.” He further expressed the importance of focusing on the continental market, highlighting that Africans are the future of global tourism, given the rapid growth of the middle class in the coming decades.
Rwanda is set to join other African nations, including Gambia, Benin, and Seychelles, in eliminating travel restrictions for fellow Africans. In a related development, Kenya’s President William Ruto recently announced plans to implement visa-free travel to Kenya for all Africans by December 31.