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Home » News » General » Botswana ranks poorly on Africa Visa Openness report

Botswana ranks poorly on Africa Visa Openness report

Publishing Date : 15 August, 2017

Author : AUBREY LUTE

Botswana has not fared well in the latest Africa Visa Openness report 2017. According to the report Botswana is ranked 28th out of total of 42 countries included in the study, and managed a paltry 0.333 score with 1 being the greatest score which was only achieved by Seychelles.


The African Development Bank, in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum, launched on Friday, May 19, 2017, the second edition of the  HYPERLINK "https://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Publications/2017_Africa_Visa_Openness_Report_-_Final.pdf" Africa Visa Openness Index, ahead of the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Ahmedabad, India.


Botswana recently added a well-known prophet, Shepherd Bushiri, on VISA requirement list, adding him to a list of about six that needs VISA to enter Botswana. Botswana is also notorious for deporting elements that are seen to be anti-state or suspected criminals. The report says Seychelles is still the only country on the continent to offer visa-free access for all Africans. 8 out of 9 of Africa’s Upper Middle Income Countries have low visa openness scores. Many of the continent’s regional and strategic hubs like South Africa and Nigeria continue to have restrictive visa policies. Africa’s Upper Middle Income countries as a group have low visa openness scores.


The Index measures how open African countries are when it comes to visas by looking at what they ask of citizens from other African countries when they travel. It aims to show at a glance which countries are facilitating travel for citizens of other countries and how: whether they allow people to travel to their country without a visa; if travelers can get a visa on arrival in the country; or whether visitors need to obtain a visa before travel.


According to the report, overall, Africans were able to travel more freely across the continent in 2016, as visa openness levels improved from 2015. However, many challenges remained. The second Africa Visa Openness Index highlights pervasive regional differences in visa openness performance. For example, 75% of countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries are in either East or West Africa, while 20% are in Southern Africa. Only one country in the top 20 most open to visas is in North Africa (Mauritania), while no countries in Central Africa rank in the top 20. “I need 38 visas to move around Africa,” says Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of Dangote Group.


“Although challenges remain, much progress was also achieved in 2016. Continent-wide, Ghana has made the most progress in 2016 in opening up its borders to African travellers, moving into sixth place in the Index, up 16 places from 2015. Senegal also moved into the top 20 most visa-open countries, up nine places from 2015, and Tunisia moved up 13 places from 2015. Seychelles continues to lead the Index and remains the only African country on the continent to offer visa-free access for all Africans,” reads the report.


“Our leaders have to bring down the walls that separate us, from East Africa to Central Africa to North Africa to West Africa. We need a wider open market,” says Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Group, who received an African passport in 2016.
The report further states: Going forward, the priority now is to continue this positive trend and deliver on the AU’s decision for African countries to issue visas on arrival to all Africans. Greater visa openness in Africa could help create a people-centered African integration that offers much-needed travel, trade, leisure, study and job opportunities for all Africans.

 
Data on visa openness was collected between September 2016 and January 2017. « Our own leaders must give incentives. For example, little things like visa issuance. You go to a country that is looking for investment, that particular country will give you a run around for getting a visa. Despite the size of our group, I need 38 visas to move around Africa.” Aliko Dangote, President and CEO, Dangote Group.


Against a backdrop of the global commodity price shocks of 2016, there were calls for Africa to focus on building a bigger, more integrated market to promote greater stability. Increased intra-African investments (with FDI totalling USD 55 billion) will play a vital role, as will a more favourable business environment (as 40 African countries improve in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017).4 Yet, Africa’s competitiveness is also dependent on labour mobility. 40% of countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries are in East Africa; 35% are in West Africa; 20% are in Southern Africa, and 5% are in North Africa. In the top 20 most visa-open countries, none are in Central Africa.

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