Nigerians who want to explore the beauty and diversity of Africa have more options now, as two more countries have announced visa-free entry for them. Kenya and Rwanda have joined the list of African nations that have eliminated travel restrictions for fellow Africans, following the examples of Gambia, Benin, and Seychelles.
Rwanda: A Land of a Thousand Hills
Rwanda, also known as the land of a thousand hills, is a small but scenic country in East Africa, famous for its wildlife, especially the endangered mountain gorillas. Rwanda has been on a remarkable journey of recovery and development since the 1994 genocide, and has become one of the most stable and prosperous countries in the region.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has declared that the country will grant visa-free travel to all Africans, effective immediately. He made this announcement at the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council, where he emphasized the immense potential of Africa as a unified tourism destination.
“Let there be no mistake about it. Any African can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish, and they will not pay a thing to enter our country,” President Kagame said:
“We should not lose sight of our own continental market. Africans are the future of global tourism as our middle class continues to grow quickly in the decades to come.”
According to the official website of Visit Rwanda, citizens of country members to the African Union, Commonwealth and La Francophonie can get free visas upon arrival in Rwanda for a visit of 30 days. A citizen of East African Community Member States can receive a pass/entry visa free of charge upon arrival for a six-month stay in Rwanda.
Kenya: A Safari Paradise
Kenya, on the other hand, is a safari paradise, home to the iconic Maasai Mara National Reserve, where millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other animals migrate annually. Kenya also boasts of diverse landscapes, from the snow-capped Mount Kenya to the tropical beaches along the Indian Ocean. Kenya is also a cultural melting pot, with over 40 ethnic groups and a vibrant music and art scene.
Kenya’s President William Ruto has revealed plans to allow visa-free travel to Kenya for all Africans by December 31, 2023. He made this announcement at an international conference in Congo Brazzaville, where he urged African leaders to remove barriers to trade and movement.
“When people cannot travel, businesspeople cannot travel, entrepreneurs cannot travel, we all become net losers,” President Ruto said: “Let me say this: As Kenya, by the end of this year, no African will be required to have a visa to come to Kenya. Our children from this continent should not be locked in borders in Europe and also be locked in borders in Africa.”
Currently, Nigeria citizens may select from the following four available types of online visas to Kenya: Kenya Tourist eVisa, Kenya Business eVisa, Kenya Transit eVisa, and Kenya Medical eVisa. However, once the visa-free policy is implemented, Nigerians will be able to enter Kenya without any hassle.
What This Means for Nigerians
The visa-free policies of Rwanda and Kenya are welcome news for Nigerians who want to travel within Africa for tourism, business, education, or other purposes. These policies will not only reduce the cost and time of travel, but also foster closer ties and cooperation among African countries. They will also promote the vision of the African Union, which aims to create a single African passport and a continental free trade area by 2023.
Nigerians can now enjoy the rich and diverse offerings of Rwanda and Kenya, from the gorillas in the mist to the lions on the plains, from the hills of Kigali to the skyscrapers of Nairobi, from the genocide memorial to the Maasai market. These two countries are ready to welcome Nigerians with open arms, and Nigerians should seize this opportunity to discover and appreciate their African brothers and sisters.