African Union outdoors continental passport
The African Union Commission (AUC) today, Sunday July 17, 2016, introduced the African passport in Kigali, Rwanda.
During the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU, host president Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Iddris Deby Itno, president of Chad and Chairperson of the AU were issued the first copies of the diplomatic version of the passport.
Information in the passport is written in English, French, Arabic, Portuguese and Swahili.
Ghana is the first country to complete mechanisms to ready its immigration service to start allowing entry into the country for holders of the new passport, according to Dr. Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the Commission.
“After we all agreed to have the passport, member states asked to be allowed to go back and put into place the mechanisms for the use of the passport. I am happy to announce that only one country, Ghana has reported back to the Commission that it has completed the mechanisms,” she said.
Holders of the African passport are allowed entry into AU member countries without requiring a visa and are allowed to stay for an initial 30 days, Dr. Zuma said.
She had earlier, however told journalists that three African countries have said they would not allow holders of the African passport to enter their countries visa-free. She declined to name the countries.
Pointing out that the Commission has no powers to enforce its scheme.
“The Commission is not going to print and issue the passports, the individual countries would print and issue their own versions, just like the ECOWAS passport. There is ECOWAS passport – Ghana or Nigeria or Togo, there would be the African Passport – Ghana and so on,” she said.
The African passport is expected to accelerate integration, facilitate trade and free movement of Africans on the continent.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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