• Beyond borders

    Beyond borders

    This year, a record 47 out of 54 African countries – not counting Saharawi – have improved their visa-openness scores, showing steady progress in easing movement across the continent.

    According to the AfDB’s latest Africa Visa Openness Index, removing restrictive barriers in travelling could drive trade, investment and tourism, considering that 40% of the international tourists on the continent are African. The index measures each country’s entry requirements based on whether travellers need a visa beforehand, can apply for one on arrival, or do not need one at all.

    The top 20 most visa-open countries on the continent are in East Africa (45%), West Africa (35%), Southern Africa (15%) and North Africa (5%). While the Central African Republic has made some progress on openness, Central Africa does not feature in the top 20.

    For the 2019 index rating, Benin took top spot due to its visa-free access policy for all Africans. The country is also ranked as the least restrictive destination across the globe by the World Tourism Organisation thanks to its roll-out of e-visas and its governmental Smart Gouv programme, which aims to simplify entry and short-stay visa processes for visitors from outside Africa.

    Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Sudan and Eritrea ranked at the bottom of the AfDB index.

    19 November 2019
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images