Africans traveling within Africa do not have the perceived ease of moving from country to country as one would think. The visa requirements placed on some African countries by other African countries makes the process of travelling within the continent a very tough endeavor. The high prices of some of these visas also make the process disheartening because it might discourage potential travelers to abandon their travel plans due to the process being too burdensome.
An example would be South Africa making Kenyans who choose to travel to South Africa to apply for a visa and then pay a service fee and wait some business days before being allowed entrance into the country. One must ask why South Africa puts Kenyans through such a long process when the Kenyan visa rules for South Africans are not this way. Kenyans provide South Africans a visa on arrival free of charge . Could there possibly be some type of discrimination taking place? It is examples like these that need to be address between governments across the continent to make travelling a less daunting procedure.
Flight frequency and high prices are another barrier that needs to be addressed when discussing travelling within the continent. Flying from Kenya to Namibia is for example the same price as flying to Thailand, and the cost to Dubai from Nairobi is way cheaper than flying to Morocco. Why would Africans be excited to travel within Africa if they know they can travel elsewhere for less?
Most Africans are not living in the best economic situations and trying to find money for visas and expensive flights for destinations that are literally a border a way makes the idea of travelling somewhat pointless. Their might be a young ambitious professional in Nigeria seeking and an opportunity in South Africa, but due to visa restrictions and expensive flight packages they might give up on the opportunity or seek one outside of the continent.
The African Union had a 50 year plan in 2013 to scrap visa necessities by 2018, but now that it is 2018 the African island of Seychelles is the only visa free nation open to all Africans. As the African continent is emerging on the global scene, steps should be taken to make citizens of Africa have an easier time travelling from country to country within the continent.
Featured image | Andrew H | flickr
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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