Dlamini-Zuma hails visa-on-arrival policy

ADDIS ABABA. — Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has welcomed Ghana’s decision to introduce a visa-on-arrival policy for citizens of African Union member-states.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, announced the decision in his State of the Nation address to the Ghanaian Parliament on 25 February 2016.

“With effect from July this year, we will be allowing citizens of AU Member States to enter — our country and obtain visas on arrival with the option to stay for up to thirty days and experience what our country has to offer. This measure, with time, should stimulate air travel, trade, investment and tourism”, President Mahama said in his address, highlighting the importance of facilitating the mobility of people to unlock Africa’s economic potential.

The decision is a result of a resolution adopted at the African Union Executive Council meeting held earlier this year in Addis Ababa, which stipulated that AU Member States review their internal and external security realities in an attempt to implement mechanisms allowing for the issuing of visas on arrival for citizens of Member States, with the possibility of a 30-day stay.

The AU Commission Chairperson expressed her great pleasure in Ghana taking immediate concrete steps to implement this decision of the Executive Council. She also noted that Ghana is reaffirming its Pan-Africanism and upholding its place in the area of the African continental integration, which is a key tenet towards the realisation of Agenda 2063 — The Africa We Want.

“After Ghana, I am convinced that many other African countries will follow suit, in the interest of achieving an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”, Dr Dlamini-Zuma said.

In another development, Dr Dlamini-Zuma congratulated Ethiopia and Rwanda on the recently reached open skies agreement.

The open-skies agreement would allow the national airlines of both countries to operate freely, with no limitations in the airspace of the other.

The airspace agreement, reached recently under the Fifth Freedom Rights Act and signed between the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, allows aircrafts from either country to carry passengers to the other, and to a third country with no limits or tariffs.

The initiative is likely to boost operations for both countries and thus yielding major gains on revenue. “This a critical step towards the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration, geared toward improved regional and economic integration.

I congratulate Ethiopia and Rwanda for taking the leadership”, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma opined, hoping many other champions will follow. — AU Commission/HR.

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