Holders of an African passport traveling to Nigeria will be able to complete their visa formalities upon arrival as of January 2020, in order to facilitate the free movement of people on the continent, announced President Muhammadu Buhari.
« We have made the strategic decision to break down the barriers that hinder the free movement of our populations on the continent, » said the Nigerian head of state at the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, which s is open Wednesday in Egypt.
Visas will now be issued upon arrival in Nigeria for « all persons holding a passport from an African country with effect from January 2020 », he said in a statement from the presidency.
« We must further promote free trade within Africa and between Africans, especially now that we have launched the African Free Trade Agreement, » said President Buhari, arguing for « massive investments in transport infrastructure ”in Africa.
Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa and the continent’s largest market with 190 million inhabitants, was one of the last countries with Benin to join the continental free trade zone (Zlec) in early July. an African Union summit.
The Zlec must ultimately constitute a market of 1.2 billion people and allow to move intra-African trade from 15% to 60%, according to the AU, and constitute « a step towards peace and prosperity ».
The market was to be active from 2020. However, tough negotiations are continuing behind the scenes on its gradual implementation.
Nigeria has taken measures to counter this spirit of openness by closing its land borders at the end of August and “until further notice” in order to force neighboring countries – to economies highly dependent on trade with the English-speaking giant – stem the smuggling of products such as petrol and rice.