African travelers visiting Kenya will be able to get a visa on arrival. This will eliminate the need to obtain a visa before traveling to the East African country.
Kenya is the latest African nation to join the effort to lift travel restrictions and to boost inter-continental free movement.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the plan during the inauguration of his second term in office. He said the new Kenya visa scheme would improve trade, security, and intercontinental travel.
He said: "The free movement of people on our continent has always been a cornerstone of Pan-African brotherhood and fraternity. Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to a visa at the port of entry. To underscore Kenya’s commitment, this will not be done on the basis of reciprocity.”
"The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity, we will become", Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta made the announcement in front of crowds in the tens of thousands. Key leaders from other African nations were also present including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia. Many of the leaders have made similar announcements in their respective countries in recent months, others are expected to follow suit.
A continent-wide effort to improve integration between African countries
Moving across Africa has not been easy for Africans in the past, in comparison to people from North America and Europe. However, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Mauritius, and Benin have all adopted similar visa policies over the last couple of years.
The African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki, tweeted: “Delighted by Pres @UKenyatta’s announcement to issue visas at arrival for all Africans visiting Kenya. Congratulations on this historic decision! I urge all African states that have not yet done so, to take similar measures towards free movement for all Africans across Africa".
Kenya’s new government will also improve integration across the region. They will make it possible for citizens of all the six EAC member states to work, do business, own property and live in Kenya without requiring a visa.
President Kenyatta said: “To our brothers and sisters in the East African Community, you are our closest friends; our fate and yours are joined at the hip; our troubles and triumphs are yours, and yours are ours. I will work with you, my brothers, the leaders of the East African Community, to bring a renewed energy and optimism to our union”.
“As a mark of our continued commitment to the East African Community, from today, you will be treated like Kenyans. Like your Kenyan brothers and sisters, you will need only your identity card. You can now work, do business, own property, farm and if you wish, and find a willing partner, you can marry and settle in Kenya. And this commitment we make with no conditions for reciprocity but driven by our desire for deeper regional integration,” he said.