African Union Working Towards Unifying 55 Nations With New Continental Passport
New passport and trade agreement will allow seamless travel and economic growth
The African Union is moving toward unifying of its 55 member nations by creating a new continental passport. The passport would allow visa-free access to every citizen of its member states to move freely throughout the continent.
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“The goal is to realize the union of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens,” Khabele Matlosa, the organization's Director of political affairs said to CNN.
Even the wealthiest person on the continent, Aliko Dangote, who got a copy of the AU Passport on its launch in 2016 said during an interview that the passport did not exclude him from bureaucracy.
“I was invited by the president of Angola to come and see him, and I had to go,” he said. “When I went there, I had to be given visa on African Union passport. It is not about fees. When you say African Union passport, you should be able to go everywhere, free of charge.”
In creating a hassle-free travel option like what is seen in the European Union or even its own regional Economic Community of West African States the bureaucracy of travel is hard to end.
"Until we get a passport like that of the EU, it will remain difficult to travel within Africa," Adedamola Idowu, who runs a travel agency on the continent said.
Outside of traveling with ease, the unification of the states on the continent would also create economic growth with increased trade. After a 2018 endorsement of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement by 44 leaders of African nations, eight more have joined.
“The agreement will result in the socio-economic development, industrialization and diversification on the African continent,” Hafsatu Lawal Garba told CNN.
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