Kenya to get rid of visa requirement for visitors from other African countries

Kenya to get rid of visa requirement for visitors from other African countries
Cargo handling in Port of Mombasa, Kenya. YouTube, KBC video

Kenya is a relatively prosperous and peaceful African country, so it historically worried about people coming from poorer, war-torn African countries and not leaving. So it required other Africans to get visas to come to Kenya. But now, it is eliminating the visa requirement. Partly, this is to boost trade, tourism, and investment.

But it also may reflect the fact that neighboring countries like Ethiopia and Tanzania are not as dirt poor as they used to be, after abandoning many socialist policies. Thus, those countries are not as likely to generate hordes of refugees who won’t leave. Violence in Ethiopia has resulted in about 40,000 Ethiopian refugees in Kenya, but that is down from over 100,000 in the 1980s, when a famine killed 1.2 million Ethiopians, and hundreds of thousands more were slaughtered by Ethiopia’s communist government, which boiled some people to death in boiling oil.

President William Ruto says the change aims to boost trade and allow goods, services, people and ideas to move freely across continent.

“By the end of this year, no African will be required to have a visa to come to Kenya,” Kenya’s president, William Ruto, said at a climate change conference in Congo-Brazzaville.

Costly and time-consuming visa requirements, as well as high air fares, have long created barriers to inter-African travel for African passport holders; 32 out of 54 African countries still require the nationals of half or more countries on the continent to obtain a visa.

Kenya will be the fourth African country to make the change and offer unrestricted travel to Africans, after the Gambia, Benin and Seychelles. Seychelles, an east African island nation that relies heavily on tourism, was the first to do so in 2016.

Ruto said the removal of barriers was necessary to facilitate the implementation of the African continental free trade area. “It is time we realise the importance of trading among ourselves and allowing goods, services, people and ideas to move freely across the continent,” he said.

The African Union has doubled down in recent years on its calls for more African countries to remove travel barriers. It launched an “AU passport” in 2016 to allow unrestricted travel for Africans within the continent. However, the rollout has been limited and the passports are mainly used by diplomats and high-ranking officials.

African countries have been slow to make changes over concerns around crime and security. However, most countries have been simplifying entry procedures, according to the 2022 Africa visa openness report. The majority of African countries offer visa-free travel to at least five other countries, with more freedom of travel within regional blocs. The number of nations offering e-visas has also more than doubled since 2016.

Although it contains picturesque landscapes with lions, elephants, rhinos, and wildebeest, Kenya is not an ideal tourist destination. It has lackluster infrastructure, such as roads with a lot of potholes. 60 people recently died in a road crash on a crowded Kenyan road. The number of people killed on Kenya’s roads has increased in recent years. Its roads are in poor condition, having declined in quality in the late 20th century before bottoming out. Meanwhile, Kenya’s population and road traffic have increased.

Occasionally, there are terrorist attacks in Kenya by the Somalian insurgent group al-Shabab, which killed 70 people in a Kenyan shopping mall. Somalia is Kenya’s neighbor to the northeast, and the arid northeast of Kenya is home to many ethnic Somalis.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.