Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

Member states: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

Population: 203 million

GDP: USD 337.8 billion

Visa openness

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development comprises eight East African countries. Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia rank among the continent’s top 20 performers, while Eritrea, South Sudan, and Sudan are among the AVOI’s poorest performers. IGAD members’ average AVOI score is sixth highest among the scores of the members of Africa’s eight regional economic communities.

In 2020, IGAD endorsed its Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in the IGAD Region and formed a technical working group to harmonize visa regimes in the region. 

"For sure when you have this kind of integration you will have more development, more decent life, more job opportunities, this will be the benefit for us right now but it will be the benefit of our next generations.”

Asrar Ahmed Elsiddig, Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Regional reciprocity

On the whole, the members of IGAD offer little visa openness to each other on a reciprocal basis: their average reciprocity score is only 18%. This belies the fact that some IGAD members rank highly on visa openness when compared to all of the countries on the continent. For example, Somalia has the highest AVOI ranking of all IGAD members, yet reciprocates visa-free entry with none of its fellow IGAD members. In contrast, Kenya ranks highest among IGAD members for reciprocal visa-free access, but its ranking on the continental scale (the AVOI) falls below IGAD’s average. Kenya also ranks highest on visa-free reciprocity in COMESA and EAC. 

"The debate on the benefits of trade has dominated this decade, and Africa has cast its vote for more and better trade with itself.”

Dr. Vera Songwe, Former Executive Secretary, 
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Regional overview, 2022