According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), African tourists are struggling when traveling around the continent as more than half of the African countries, 55%, require visas to grant access to their territory.
Low visa openness prevents travelers from getting better opportunities and makes travel business more complicated. For this reason, the AfDB recently introduced the Africa Visa Openness Index, compiled in partnership with McKinsey & Company and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Africa.
It revealed that the continent is largely closed off to African tourists, as only 20% of the countries in Africa allow access to other Africans without a visa. In 25% of African countries, the travelers can get visas on arrival, however for 55% of African countries African tourists need the visa in advance.
One of the aims of the African Union’s project Agenda 2063 is to abolish visa requirements among African countries for all Africans by 2018.
The Visa Openness Index discovered that the majority of the most open nations regarding visas are located in East and West Africa while the least open countries are in the central area of the continent. Seychelles is ranked number one in Africa for its visa openness policy, since all Africans have visa-free access to the archipelago.
Director of McKinsey & Company, Acha Leke, stated that the number of countries without visa requirements for African tourists has increased by eight in only three years. He also admitted that this progress needed to accelerate in order to accomplish the objective.
Benefits of open policies have already been seen in Mauritius and Rwanda, who are in the top 10 most visa-open countries. Since they adopted more open visa plans, the countries recorded increased development in tourism, economy, and investment.