Regional overview, 2020

Regional overview, 2020

In 2020, progress was also made on visa openness across Africa’s eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs), with their average score rising to 0.483 in 2020, up from 0.473 in 2019.

In line with previous Index findings, 80% of the top 20 most visa-open countries on the Index continue to be in East or West Africa, with the remainder in Southern Africa or North Africa.

Since 2017, the top performers across the RECs on open reciprocity, which measures ‘no visa’ policies, are ECOWAS, EAC, SADC and UMA.

  • In 2020, the EAC increased its open reciprocity to 90%, up from 60% in 2019, and SADC saw a rise to 68%, up from 59% in 2019.
  • Open reciprocity Africa-wide was 20% (also 20% in 2019, 19% in 2018 and 17% in 2017).
  • Closed reciprocity Africa-wide was 27% (30% in 2019, 33% in 2018 and 36% in 2017).
  • Top performing RECs on open reciprocity: ECOWAS (97%), EAC (90%), SADC (68%) and UMA (60%).

Top performers and regional integration


11 of the top 20 countries have signed the Protocol of Movement of Persons


11 of the top 20 countries have ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area


12 of the top 20 countries have signed up to the Single African Air Transport Market

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