2018 Findings: Countries and regions looking to open up on visas
- 2018 Index ranking: no. 50 (no.49 in 2017, and no.46 in 2016).
- Ethiopia automated its visa application system and announced a decision to liberalize visas for African travelers. The announcement was made by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in May 2018 and has been widely welcomed in African policy and media circles.
“#A relaxed visa regime will enhance both #Ethiopia’s openness and will allow the country to harness the significant stopover transit traffic of @flyethiopian.”
- The Main Department for Nationality and Immigration Affairs is also modernising the visa process, with global travellers able to apply for eVisas at https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/home.
- 2018 Index ranking: no.38 (no.36 in 2017, and no.38 in 2016).
- Namibia moved ahead to liberalise its visa policy framework in October 2017, with a decision for all Africans to be issued visas on arrival, as part of a wider goal to remove visa requirements altogether. This follows earlier plans to allow SADC citizens to access the country visa-free.
- Since 2016, African diplomat and official passport holders can enter the country without a visa, following President Hage Geingob’s announcement citing the value of African unity.
- The Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CEMAC) has ratified free movement of people as of October 2017, allowing citizens from the six member states – Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo – to travel visa-free.
- The move is re-energising integration in the region, with a focus on biometric technology, coordinating security services and respect for different labour regulations.
- Two thirds of CEMAC members are in the top 20 improvers on visa openness between 2016-2018. The decision will support CEMAC members with low visa openness scores to move up the Index.