Methodology & Abbreviations


Visa openness refers to the ease with which visitors are authorized to enter their country of destination. 

A more visa-open country has a liberal or relaxed visa policy for visitors, meaning that visitors either do not need a visa to enter its territory or can obtain a visa upon arrival. A visa-restrictive country requires visitors to obtain a visa before they travel. Visitors might obtain the visa from an embassy, a consulate, or another source.

The visa openness rate refers to the percentage of other countries in Africa whose citizens are permitted to enter a country’s territory without having obtained a visa before arriving. Earlier editions of the AVOI referred to this as the “liberal access rate.” 

Important: Visa policies change frequently. Before travelling, please check with the embassy or consulate of your country of destination



How the AVOI Calculates Each Country’s Score

Scores and rankings. AVOI scores range from 0 to 1, where 0 designates countries with the most restrictive visa policies and 1 designates countries with the most welcome policies.

The higher a country’s index score, the more “visa-open” is the country and the higher it ranks.

Categories and weightings. To calculate each country’s score, the AVOI assesses the country’s visa policy vis-à-vis each of the other 53 countries in the continent and classifies each policy in one of three categories. The AVOI gives each category a weighting:

  • Category - Weighting 
  • Visa required before travel - 0
  • Visa on arrival - 0.8
  • No visa required - 1.0

Calculations. To compute the country’s score, the AVOI follows four steps:

  1. It counts the number of countries that fall in each visa category (visa required before travel, visa on arrival, no visa required).

  2. It converts that number into a percentage of all countries in Africa.

  3. It weighs each percentage according to the weighting given to each category.

  4. It adds the figures.

Formula: AVOI score = [(% of African countries whose nationals must obtain a visa before travelling x 0) + (% of African countries whose nationals may obtain a visa on arrival x 0.8) + (% of African countries whose nationals are not required to obtain a visa x 1)]/100

An Example

Country X requires the nationals of 13 countries to obtain a visa before travel. It allows the nationals of 30 countries to obtain a visa on arrival, and it allows the nationals of 10 other countries to enter its territory visa-free. Country X’s score is calculated as follows: 

AVOI score for Country X = [(visa required before travel: 13/53 x 0) + (visa upon arrival: 30/53 x 0.8) + (no visa required: 10/53 x 1)]/100 = 0.642



AfCFTA       African Continental Free Trade Area

AfDB           African Development Bank Group

AMU           Arab Maghreb Union

AVOI           Africa Visa Openness Index

AU               African Union

CEMAC      Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa

CEN-SAD   Community of Sahel-Saharan States

COMESA    Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

EAC            East African Community

ECCAS       Economic Community of Central African States

ECOWAS    Economic Community of West African States

E-visa          Electronic Visa

GDP            Gross Domestic Product

GTI              Guided Trade Initiative

IATA             International Air Transport Association

ICBT            Informal Cross-border Trade

IGAD           Intergovernmental Authority on Development

PAPSS        Pan-African Payment & Settlement System

PFMP          Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons 

REC             Regional Economic Community

SAATM        Single African Air Transport Market

SADC          Southern African Development Community

UNCTAD    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

USD             United States Dollars