News / Press Release
Visa requirements in Africa hamper trade and job creation, concludes panel at the AfDB Annual Meetings
01 Jun 2013 at 13:59hrs | Views
Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements
MARRAKECH, Morocco - "Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. Visa restrictions imply missed economic opportunities for intra-regional trade and for the local service economy such as tourism, cross-country medical services or education." - Professor Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank.
During the African Development Bank Annual Meetings (http://www.afdb.org/en/annual-meetings) in Marrakech, Morocco, on May 31, 2013, a high-level panel - organized jointly by the World Economic Forum and the African Development Bank - discussed the benefits of relaxing visa restrictions throughout Africa. Dr. Ibrahim Bocar Ba, ECOWAS Commissioner of macroeconomic policy, underlined that Africans mainly migrate to Africa. In ECOWAS more than 80% of all migration is intra-regional. Nonetheless, Africans need visas to go to 80% African countries, these restrictions are higher for Africans traveling within Africa than for Europeans and North Americans.
In his opening remarks, Professor Ncube underlined that "The movement of talent and people is at the core of regional integration and is a core pillar of the Bank's Ten-Year Strategy. Twenty-five percent of all trade in Africa is informal; it is the strongest in West Africa. If there were no visa requirements, informal sector trading would boom."
Razia Khan, who is head of research in Africa for Standard Chartered Bank, introduced herself rather as a citizen of an African country, traveling extensively within Africa - who often measures the time that it takes to get visas against the amount of economic research that could have been developed.
Abdul Awl, Board Member of Dabashill Group, concluded that: "The private sector is the engine of growth, and we all talk about improving the climate for business sector. Visas are a major barrier, and pose restrictions on doing business."
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
About the African Development Bank Group
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) is Africa's premier development finance institution and the first multilateral development finance institution in Africa. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 29 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 53 regional member states.
Source - African Development Bank (AfDB) | www.afdb.org