Travel within Africa is not easy, it is expensive and often frustrating. The regional blocs have been working on travel agreements, particularly air travel to facilitate easy travel, but the high cost of tickets and airport taxes are making travel still expensive and out of reach of many citizens.
But the East African Community (EAC) is taking a giant step to make travel within the region cheaper by classifying air travel from one country to the other domestic.
A report by the East African says by the end of 2017, flights between countries in the region will be classified as domestic.
The benefits will accrue to travellers because, according to the report, it will lower the price of air tickets and increase the number of air passengers.
“The change will see the price of air tickets drop by up to 12 per cent across the region, with domestic flyers charged a service fee of $5, compared with the $50 paid by international passengers,” it said.
While it is easier and cheaper to travel from Kenya to Rwanda by air, it is practically impossible to travel from Ghana to Benin in West Africa.
The EAC region is ahead of all the other blocs in Africa towards achieving integration. A 2016 Africa Regional Integration Index – which measure progress on regional integration, ranked the EAC the number in Africa.
On the Index, the EAC came first with a score of 0.540, followed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which scored 0.531, and ECOWAS came third with a score of 0.509 on a scale of 0 to 1
The Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) came fourth with 0.459, followed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the horn and its western area, with 0.457; and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in sixth, scoring 0.454.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi