Championing Freedom of Movement Across Africa

Africa Visa Openness Index 2021 Headlines

Despite the lockdowns necessitated by COVID 19 pandemic, many African countries continue to signal visa openness to the citizens of other countries on the continent:

  • The top 10 countries’ average score on the Africa Visa Openness Index rose to 0.904 from 0.902 in 2020.
  • Benin, The Gambia, and Seychelles continued to offer visa-free access to all Africans.

Nonetheless, visa openness in Africa as a whole dropped slightly over the year. The continent is almost evenly split between countries with a liberal visa policy and countries whose visa policy is more restrictive:

  • 25% of African countries welcome some or all African visitors, visa-free.
  • 24% of African countries allow some or all African visitors to obtain a visa on arrival.
  • 51% of African countries require African visitors to obtain a visa before they arrive.

Highlights from 2016-2021

Between 2016 and 2021, 36 countries—two-thirds of the continent—improved or maintained their AVOI score.

In 2021, 24 African countries—44% of the continent— offered an eVisa for Africans, up from 9 African countries—17% of the continent—in 2016.

“We need the visa regime to be able to help people move around. We also need [the] right customs regime and the right border automation control and so on, to support [the] movement of people, goods and services [for] the development, growth and sustainability of [the] African economy as we begin to recover from this pandemic.”

Adefunke Adeyemi, Africa Regional Director, International Air Transport Association

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