Africa Visa Openness Index 2018 has rated Kenya ninth in the visa friendly states index which measures how easy it is for African visitors to enter another African country.
Kenya climbed six positions from the 15th position in the 2017 ranking and 16th position in 2016.
Kenya’s improved score follows its new visa-on-arrival policy for all Africans, which was highlighted in President Kenyatta’s inauguration speech in November 2017.
“For my fellow Africans, the free movement of people on our continent has always been a cornerstone of Pan-African brotherhood and fraternity.
Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry.
To underscore Kenya’s commitment, this shall not be done on the basis of reciprocity.
The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity, we will become,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The liberalized visa regime was set up to promote more open borders across the continent and to boost trade, security and Africa-wide integration.
It has been widely publicized, with the African Union Commission voicing the need for countries to follow Kenya’s example.
Seychelles and Benin tied at the top spot seeing as they are the only countries in the whole of Africa offering visa-free access to all Africans.
Rwanda and Togo were ranked in third position, scoring 0.875 out of a possible score of 1.
According to the index, 8 countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries are in Eastern Africa: Comoros (14), Djibouti (14), Kenya (9), Rwanda (3), Seychelles, Somalia (14), Uganda (5) and Tanzania (18)
African countries are, on average, becoming more open to each other, with indications that travel within the continent is getting easier. Compared to 2017 and 2016, progress has been made in 2018 against visa openness indicators.
Africans currently do not need a visa to travel to more countries than in previous years, and they need visas to travel to fewer countries.
However, the fact that Africans still require visas to travel to just over half of other African countries shows more progress is needed to realize free movement of people continent-wide.