Rwandan President Paul Kagame yesterday, Thursday, announced that there will be no more visa requirements for any African traveling to his country.
President Kagame made the announcement in Kigali, where he pitched the potential of Africa as “a unified tourism destination” for a continent that still relies on 60% of its tourists from outside Africa, according to data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
“Any African, can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish and they will not pay a thing to enter our country,” he said.
“We should not lose sight of our own continental market,” he said. “Africans are the future of global tourism as our middle class continues to grow at a fast pace in the decades to come.”
President Kagame was speaking at the opening of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) 2023, which convened more than 1,200 participants in the global tourism industry to recognize the sector’s growth across the continent in recent years and at the same time analyze its challenges.
Once implemented, Rwanda will become only the fourth African country to remove travel restrictions for Africans. Other countries that have waived visas to African nationals are Gambia, Benin, and Seychelles.
Kenya is also following behind, promising just days ago to eliminate visa restrictions by the end of this year.
Kenya’s President William Ruto announced Monday plans to allow all Africans to travel to the East African nation visa-free by December 31.
In 2016 launched an African passport saying it would rival the European Union model in “unleashing the potential of the continent.”
The three-day summit is for the first time taking place in Africa, and it was hosted in Kigali, under the theme ‘Building Bridges to a Sustainable Future’, to discuss resilience and sustainable growth, the growing impact of AI, and understanding new and emerging markets, as well as cover the key challenges and opportunities facing the sector.