Our Objective and Mandate

The high 5s for transforming africa

The High 5 development priorities for Africa driving the Bank’s work across the continent: 

  • Light up and power Africa
  • Feed Africa
  • Industrialize Africa
  • Integrate Africa
  • Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa

These focus areas are essential in transforming the lives of the African people and therefore consistent with the United Nations agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Integrate Africa

Free movement of people is a cornerstone of regional integration and the Bank’s vision to create the next global market in Africa. Creating larger, more attractive markets and supporting intra-African trade are boosted by greater mobility. When business people and traders move more easily across the continent, thanks to liberal visa policies, they bring higher levels of investment, fresh skills and expand the range of goods and services on offer.

To deliver on Integrate Africa, the Bank is developing a new regional integration strategy to expand the size of the regional market through: building regional infrastructure; boosting intra-African trade and investment; and, facilitating the movement of people across borders. The Africa Visa Openness Index will play a central role in operationalizing the new strategy.

“At borders and crossings, you see African men, women, young people, sole travellers and families either coming, going or in transit. The travel experience is African integration in action. Tourists, investors, business people and students all positively impact a country’s economy when they move more freely.”

Dr. Khaled F. Sherif, Vice President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, African Development Bank

Foreword by the African Development Bank

Dr. Khaled F. Sherif, Vice President of Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery at the African Development Bank

Travel is something that unites us all. But it should be open to all Africans. It cannot remain a privilege for a few, a lottery dependent on your passport and chosen destination.

When we board a plane, catch a bus, step on a train, get in a car, or move on foot we are simply travellers. At borders and crossings, you see African men, women, young people, sole travellers and families either coming, going or in transit. The travel experience is African integration in action. Tourists, investors, business people and students all positively impact a country’s economy when they move more freely. As well as driving growth and investment, travel connects cultures and transfers ideas, and this soft impact brings African unity to life.

Travel is something that unites us all. But it should be open to all Africans. It cannot remain a privilege for a few, a lottery dependent on your passport and chosen destination.

When we board a plane, catch a bus, step on a train, get in a car, or move on foot we are simply travellers. At borders and crossings, you see African men, women, young people, sole travellers and families either coming, going or in transit. The travel experience is African integration in action. Tourists, investors, business people and students all positively impact a country’s economy when they move more freely. As well as driving growth and investment, travel connects cultures and transfers ideas, and this soft impact brings African unity to life.

“At the foundation of Africa’s collective vision is the need for Africans to have right of entry across Africa, in terms of visa-free access to other countries, and an African passport for all. The signing of the Free Movement Protocol is a strong indication that this is within reach.”

Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission

Thomas Kwesi Quartey

Foreword by the African Union Commission

A burst of energy accompanied developments towards a more integrated Africa in 2018. The establishment of a free trade area and single sky across Africa heralds a vibrant new era.

Across flagship programmes of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, there are signs of progress. From the infrastructure connecting cities, to agricultural transformation in value chains, alongside acceleration of skills development and internet access, to financial integration. Breaking down barriers for Africans to move with greater ease is linked to all these goals.

At the foundation of Africa’s collective vision is the need for Africans to have right of entry across Africa, in terms of visa-free access to other countries, and an African passport for all. The signing of the Free Movement Protocol is a strong indication that this is within reach.

The latest edition of the Africa Visa Openness Index shows that progress has been steadfast. In 2018, 43 countries improved or maintained their visa openness score, with a rise in the average score between 2016-2018. Yet, ease of access varies region by region, and the top 10 performers are far ahead, with an average score of nearly double the overall average.

Africa’s development dynamics remain positive, but there are inequalities and vulnerabilities to be addressed in all regions on the continent. In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises, youth, and women need more channels to actively participate in economic life. Tourism is one sector, which offers this promise and is already on a strong growth trajectory.

Against this backdrop, the Index will continue to be an increasingly important policy tool for review and reflection, and help to reinforce the free movement of people across Africa. The top performing countries on the Index have accrued big benefits in the tourism industry, and the impact is reaching further still. Accompanied by business reforms and infrastructure investments, openness on visas is being used as part of a virtuous circle to drive growth.

What remains is to capitalise on the political will driving Africa’s integration in 2018, and to translate this into tangible benefits for all. A visa-free Africa is not only possible, but vital.

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