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Crossing African Frontiers – for work or holidays – is Getting Easier

Going through African border controls as an individual is getting easier. The Africa Visa Openness Index 2023 reveals much progress since the 7th  edition of the report was published last December. The Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI) measures the extent to which African countries are open to visitors from other African countries. The visa openness achieved its highest score ever in 2023, surpassing levels last seen prior to the COVID. Over the period 2020-21, massive border closures to curb the spread of COVID, affected land and air travel, with additional restrictions due to screening measures, bans on gatherings, quarantines and such, causing stagnation in 2022.

In 2023, data from the report shows that 50 countries improved or maintained their 2022 score, with only 4 countries scoring lower. Since the first report was published in 2016, 36 countries have improved their score on the index. 42 countries extend visa-free entry to citizens from at least 5 other African countries, while 33 countries do so to citizens of at least 10 countries. 4 countries – up from 3 last year, –  have eliminated all visa requirements for African travellers. They are Rwanda, Benin, The Gambia, and Seychelles. All key overall matrices have shown improvements in 2023. In 28% of all intra-Africa travel scenarios, African citizens do not require a visa (an improvement from 27% in 2022 and 20% in 2016). A visa is still required in 46% of travel scenarios on the continent – down from 47% in 2022 and 55% in 2016.

Alastair Tempest

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