The African Union has announced plans to unveil a single design for African passport that is aimed at promoting free movement of people within the continent and promoting trade.
In statements to Sky News channel on Tuesday, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Hammat said that the details of the design, production and issuance will be presented at the 32nd African Union Summit at Addis Ababa in February.
This move is meant to unify Africans, empower countries with weak passports and eventually create a seamless border in the African continent.
The passport also has five languages on it – English, French, Arabic, Portuguese and Swahili.
What exactly is this passport going to do, though?
The passport is said to give holders visa-free access to all 54 African Union states which will make travels for citizens from any of the African states very easy and hassle-free. Currently, Africans need a visa to travel to over 55% of African states.
Even though the passports are at first only being rolled out to important dignitaries, the AU hopes to distribute these passports to all African citizens by 2018.
Several countries in Africa such as the Seychelles, Rwanda and Mauritius have instituted the open visa policy with remarkably good results. It is also hoped that this will be the first step towards greater integration in terms of perhaps a common currency as well.
How the passport will work?
African Passport falls under the banner of the Agenda 2063 plan of action which is a “call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny.” It is hoped that the passport will help to bring about greater integration as well as free movement which will therefore help an increase in trade and economic growth.
On the whole, the idea of an integrated Africa where Africans work together to improve their lives sounds like a very good idea and something that should be advocated for greatly, especially if means that Africa can finally throw off the shackles of being controlled by others and actually use the resources on the continent for its own benefit. It may be a tiny step in the right direction.