In 2016, the African Union introduced the idea of the African passport — a unified passport aimed at increasing the freedom of movement of Africans within the continent, spurring economic growth, promoting intra-African trade and, eventually, creating a "continent with seamless borders."
Currently, the passport is still exclusive to heads of state and other diplomats, with Chadian leader, Idriss Déby and Rwandan president, Paul Kagame being the first recipients. Well, steps are now being made to unroll it across the 55 countries that belong to the African Union.
This year, at the 32nd African Union summit in February, the Commission will unveil details on the design, production and issuance of the African passport, according to the head of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The African passport is a net positive for Africans because we hold some of the least powerful passports in the world, and movement within Africa is hard for Africans too, as only Seychelles and Benin offer visa-free travel to all African travelers.
Even though a lot of visa policies are getting relaxed (Ethiopia is beginning a push for visa on arrival to all Africans), travelers from nations like South Sudan and Burundi need visas to go to 48 and 47 African countries respectively.
On the flip side, skeptics are pointing out that the move will be challenging, with many African states currently very resistant to migrants and refugees, and some have been quietly tightening their visa rules: Tanzania recently banned Nigerian, Djibouti and Ethiopian citizens from visa on arrival.
Well, the head of the AU promises that the commission will push for more integration saying, "the persisting obstacles to our citizens’ movement within their own continent are simply unacceptable." Honestly, we couldn't agree more.