Opinions & Features May 24, 2019 at 09:00 am

These four factors hinder the long-cherished dream of a united Africa

Fatiatu Inusah | Contributor

Fatiatu Inusah May 24, 2019 at 09:00 am

May 24, 2019 at 09:00 am | Opinions & Features

Difficulties in travelling within Africa

Air travel within the continent is unbelievably more expensive than air travel outside the continent. Despite the Air Travel Liberalisation policy in Yamoussoukro in 2000, air travel is still quite expensive in Africa. Countries on the continent are farther apart as compared to their distance from Europe. For instance, it would take a person about eight hours to travel from Johannesburg in South Africa to Dakar in Senegal, while it will take six hours to travel from Lagos to London. 

Apart from this challenge, some African countries refuse to open their airspace to other countries on the continent. This, coupled with poor infrastructure, make it financially and physically exhausting to travel within the continent.

Dr. Funke Adeyemi, Vice President of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Africa said last year that the cost of travel within Africa remains expensive mainly because countries refuse to implement the open sky (open sky is an aviation policy that calls for the liberalization of rules and regulations of the international aviation industry) policy with West and Central Africa being uncooperative in this regard.

Easy access to other African countries is one of the most important dreams of the African Union in order to realise the long-held vision of unity. The goal was again included in the vision and road map of the organization for the next 50 years which all of its member states signed in 2013. However, this dream remains what it is, ‘a dream’, as many countries find it difficult to travel to other countries due to visa acquisition procedures.

South Africa allows passport holders from only 15 African countries to enter the country without a visa while it paradoxically allows up to 28 European passport holders access to the country without visa restrictions.

The continent’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, had said that he needs 38 visas to travel within the continent as travelling around Africa has been made increasingly frustrating with unnecessary immigration procedures.


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