It’s no new matter that the travel visa situation in Africa has been dire. What with Africans needing to get visas to travel to 55 percent of other African countries, visa on arrival on just 25 percent of other countries and not needing to get a visa to travel to a mere 20 percent of other countries.
In contrast, the west has had a bit more freedom in Africa with most either not needing a visa to travel within Africa and most of the world. Europe has it’s arrangement with the Schengen visa that allows them to travel visa free in 26 European countries.
Sometime quite recently African heads of state met in Rwanda at AU summit and launched the African passport that was meant to change that, but so far that’s just limited to diplomats who can get visa free access to African countries.
Even with it’s hard stand on things, South Africa is reported to be working on making 360 degree turn and allow Africans in visa free. According to a White Papet by the Department od Home Affairs, trusted travelers like diplomants, officials, academics, business people and students get to benefit in a new arrangement.
This could see visa free access of up to 90 days multiple entry for this group. The White Paper is allegedly already approved by South Africa’s cabinet but is yet to be made public.
The White Paper does not lack to factor in the caution the country needs to approach this with. Migration formalities get to be scrapped for only the trusted group listed above, and only for countries where there is a reciprocal agreement. Last I checked, Kenya had something of the sort, though took it back for a while before returning it.
In countries with citizens “known to abuse the asylum system”, travelers with risk of organized crime, terrorism and political instability, civil registration risks like fraud by foreign governments or those not co-operating when requested to provide information on nationals there will be need for Visas.
The White Paper also makes note of the need to allow for preference of skilled migrants and against semi-skilled and unskilled migrants. For the former it’s to counter brain drain, for the latter it says there is the abuse by economic migrants, a thing that goes on to be abused by unscrupulous South African employers. This has been known to result in cheap labour, a thing South Africans have been up in arms about, and has been a subject of xenophobic attacks.
This means that visas for lower skilled migrants will be ‘quota-based’ on a yet to be agreed plan.