finance & economy

Africa Visa Openness Index: Tunisia ranks 30th

December 13, 2020

(TAP) - Tunisia ranked 30th in Africa in terms of openness of its visa policy on the Continent, according to the 2020 Africa Visa Openness report published by the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank (AfDB) on December 10.

Tunisia is also among the ten countries that made most of the progress in terms of openness of their visa policies during the 2016-2020 period along with Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Gabon, Malawi, Nigeria, São Tome and Príncipé,Sierra Leone and and Zimbabwe.

The upward trend in African countries liberalising their visa systems and welcoming African travelers continues, the report reads.

The 2020 Index shows that a record 54% of the continent is accessible for African visitors, who no longer need visas to travel or can get one on arrival, up by 9% since 2016.

In 2020, The Gambia joins Seychelles and Benin in allowing visa-free access for all African travelers. In addition, 20 countries moved upwards in rank on the Index, while 50 countries improved or maintained their scores.

The report shows a significant rise in e-Visas, offered by 24 countries in Africa.

Notwithstanding the gains made, findings show that African citizens still need visas to travel to 46% of African countries. Countries in East and West Africa rank highest among the top performers, worthy of emulation by countries in the other regions.

The Index's findings reinforce the benefits of prioritising visa openness solutions in large and small economies, with the biggest gains accruing to business, investment, innovation and tourism.

Further facilitating the free movement of people, goods and services, becomes even more important with the start of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 1 January 2021.

This fifth edition of the Index highlights the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to reverse Africa's economic gains of recent years, affecting sectors from tourism through to investment.

As travel restrictions ease and safety measures are put in place to contain the pandemic, sustaining progress and momentum on more comfortable continent-wide travel is vital.

'As the evolving fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, countries increasingly need to look beyond domestic frontiers to boost their economic prospects. Visa openness will support Africa to reposition its future growth,' African Development Bank Vice-President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Dr. Khaled F. Sherif said.

The Africa Visa Openness Index measures the extent to which African countries are open to travelers from other African countries when it comes to visas by looking at what they ask of the citizens when they travel into their countries.

The Index is tracking changes in country scores over time to show which countries are making improvements that support people's free movement across Africa.

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