The Gambia, Seychelles, Benin Republic Top Africa’s Visa Openness Ranking

by Olamilekan Okeowo

The Gambia, Seychelles and Benin Republic have been ranked top in the Visa Openness Index Report published by the African Development Bank.

The three countries were specially recognized for offerIn visa-free access to all African visitors.

The report further showed that African borders have become increasingly open over the past five years.

“In 2020, Africans did not need a visa to travel to 26 percent of other African countries and could obtain a visa on arrival in 28 percent of African countries. Similarly, in 2020, Africans needed visas to travel to only 46 percent of other African countries. Overall, the most visa-open countries are found in East and West Africa—these two regions accounted for 80 percent of the top 20 most visa-open African countries in 2020,” the report stated.

The report posited that there is still significant scope for African countries to become more open by, for example, offering visas on arrival for African visitors. Increased openness and integration can help develop regional tourism, bolstering an industry that plays a pivotal role in economic growth in many African countries but that has suffered a severe shock from COVID-19.

The report added that substantial progress has also been made over the past five years in the use of eVisas.

“eVisas are a useful method for streamlining travel processes and facilitating visitor access: Going digital and using cutting-edge technology can speed up and secure entry for travelers, which will play a key role as countries respond to a changing travel climate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Figure 2 shows that 24 African countries—nearly half of all African countries—offered eVisas for African travelers in 2020. This number is a substantial increase from 2016 when only nine countries offered them. 10 out of the top 20 most visa-open countries also offered eVisas for travelers,” the report added.

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