The African Union (AU) is an association of 55 countries on the African continent. The countries of the continent have agreed to form a single bloc where they can all benefit from the free movement of people and goods.
CONTINENTAL AFRICAN FREE TRADE ZONE
The idea of a single passport for AU member countries was launched in 2016. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) officially entered into force in July 2019, but the launch of a single passport for the continent has been delayed due to several reasons, including the global pandemic.
African countries are starting to relax visa regimes for each other in order to boost trade and tourism on the continent. This decision was facilitated by the historic free trade agreement, AfCFTA, ratified by member states of the African Union (AU).
ZIMBABWE FACILITATES ENTRY FOR SADC MEMBERS
Zimbabwe is moving forward by allowing the free movement of people from across the southern African region across its borders. It became the first country to exempt all member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) from visa requirements.
SADC is a regional economic community whose objective is to expand regional socio-economic cooperation and integration, as well as foster political and security cooperation among 16 countries in the Southern African region.
The countries that will benefit from easier entry thanks to the abolition of visas in Zimbabwe are: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. .
Essentially, this means that South Africans will be able to enter Zimbabwe with only their passport and will no longer be required to obtain a visa upon arrival at the port of entry.
ZIMBABWE LEADS THE WAY
Zimbabwe’s Foreign and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava announced that Zimbabwe was the first and only state in the SADC bloc to have implemented the arrangement so far.
“Regarding the implementation of visa waiver among SADC Member States and facilitating the free movement of SADC citizens in the region, I would like to stress that Zimbabwe is the first and only country to have exempted all SADC Member States from the visa requirement, other SADC countries Member States are undertaking internal processes to ensure that SADC citizens can travel freely in the region ”, a Shava said, quoted in IOL.