Mahama advocates visa-free travel among AU member states
Former President John Dramani Mahama has called on African leaders to adopt a visa-free regime within the shortest possible time to allow Africans travel freely into each other’s countries.
Mr Mahama said this will help give meaning to the adoption and entering into the force the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The AfCFTA is a trade agreement between AU member states, with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union.
As of February 2019, 52 of the 55 AU states had signed the agreement, with Nigeria the only major country missing from the agreement.
The former Ghanaian leader in a message to celebrate AU Day on Saturday, 25 May 2019 said Africans cannot trade freely and “connect our continent if we cannot travel freely into each other’s countries”.
Mr Mahama, therefore, charged other African leaders to learn the Ghanaian ad Rwandan examples of a visa on arrival for holders of African passports.
Mr Mahama’s message on Facebook read: “On the occasion of #AfricaDay, let us re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of our continent and the progress and prosperity of the African people.
“While progress has been slow on our integration project, on this occasion, we celebrate the expected entering into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It is indeed a major development and we can, as a people, only continue to work towards the attainment of the AU Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“While we celebrate the AfCFTA, we need to remind our leaders that, we cannot trade freely, and connect our continent if we cannot travel freely into each other’s countries.
“I had the honour as President to introduce a visa on arrival scheme for all holders of African passports. Rwanda and other countries have since followed suit.
“We can give real meaning to the celebration of the #AfricaDay, and hail the implementation of the AfCFTA when all African countries adopt within the shortest possible time, a visa-free regime for all African Passport holders.
“Happy Africa Day.”