Ghana kicks off visa-on-arrival for all African Union travellers


Cape Town - Ghana has kicked off offering visas upon arrival to all African nationals, a step towards creating a continent-wide zone of free movement.

This, shortly after the African Union announced they will be launching an electronic passport, or e-passport, at the next AU Summit tabled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016. 

These e-passports will initially be available only to heads of state, government ministers and permanent representatives of member countries at the AU. 

Ghana rolled out its new visa-on-arrival on Friday, 1 July, allowing citizens of 54 African Union (AU) member states to get visas for up to 30 days upon arriving in the country. 

While the move could lead to increased air traffic across the continent, South African Airways airline operator Gloria Wilkinson told Ghana’s Citi Business News that the West African country would have to ensure its security measures were tight to prevent possible abuse of the system. 

Gershon Mosiane, Forum of Immigration Practitioners of South Africa (FIPSA) chairperson, echoes Wilkinson's sentiment with issuing e-passports to all AU members. 

Speaking to CapeTalk on Monday, 4 July, Mosiane said the AU's e-passport ambitions might be admirable, but that "security threats like terrorism" have made implementing the passport more complicated. 

"Would we in South Africa allow someone with a terrorist history be allowed to come into the country" using the all-access e-passport, Mosiane asked. 

READ MORE HERE: African Union prepares to roll out e-passports pilot


Regardless, the move from Ghana to issue visas-on-arrive, as well as the AU's new e-passport plans marks a step towards the AU's Agenda 2063 policy document, which includes the abolition of visa requirements for all African citizens in all the continent’s countries by 2018. 

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama announced Ghana's new visa policy in his state of the nation address in February, saying that the measure would “stimulate air trade, investment and tourism.” 

AU Commission chairperson, South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, agreed saying she was convinced “many other African countries will follow suit, in the interest of achieving an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.”

Ghana is a hub on the African continent, as it marks a halfway point to other destinations globally, from SA. In August last year, SAA launched a route between Accra, Ghana and Washington DC in North America.

Now, AU member state passengers on this route can obtain a visa-on-arrival to explore Ghana when on a lengthy layover in the West African country. 

Ghana already allows visa-free travel for citizens of countries belonging to member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)—a regional economic bloc consisting of 15 countries including Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy.


What to read next on Traveller24

Women in Tourism: 'More respect, recognition and representation'

Protea open first hotel in Ghana

SAA launches route between Ghana and US capital



We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Biden is going to take it
46% - 5625 votes
It's four more years for Trump
54% - 6664 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.40
(+0.25)
ZAR/GBP
21.35
(-0.19)
ZAR/EUR
19.45
(+0.08)
ZAR/AUD
11.61
(-0.11)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.03)
Gold
1918.31
(+0.42)
Silver
24.98
(+1.03)
Platinum
877.00
(+0.69)
Brent Crude
43.05
(+1.28)
Palladium
2409.50
(+0.84)
All Share
55144.16
(-0.23)
Top 40
50653.15
(-0.39)
Financial 15
9913.11
(-0.43)
Industrial 25
75170.89
(-0.52)
Resource 10
53810.85
(+0.04)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo