Travel in Africa: Ghana introduces visa-on-arrival
On February 25, one week prior to Ghana’s 59th Independence, President, John Dramani Mahama, announced that the country will introduce visa-on-arrival for citizens of all African Union (AU) member countries.
President Mahama’s decision was feted by Africans across the continent. It even got a nod of approval from Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU. An AU resolution held earlier this year advised states to look at implementing policies to allow 30-day stay visas available on entry to citizens of other member states. Ghana is the first to accept and implement this resolution, and may hopefully pave the way for other AU states to do the same.
This may be unsurprising when one considers that Ghana has always been at the forefront of pan-African efforts. Ghana was one of the first countries to take African unity seriously, especially considering Kwame Nkrumah’s role in encouraging it. Visa-on-arrival for citizens of other African countries is one step forward in the way of encouraging and enabling travel within the continent. It is a direct answer to the difficulties Africans face in travelling both within the continent and when travelling outside it. Stress-free travels within the continent should be a given.
While President Mahama highlighted the economic potential of visa-on-arrival, the country’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Creative Arts, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare talks of its touristic value. The move is also regarded as one way of boosting tourism in Ghana, as well as encouraging returns on investments in the sector. As the government promises to ensure African travelers experience hassle-free visa acquisitions at the border, some may already be planning vacations.
Consider that Ghana has paid some attention to tourist sites such as the Kakum National Park, famed for its rainforest canopy walkway and Elmina castle the history slave-trading port which is the oldest European building in existence in sub-Saharan Africa. Ghana is also a very friendly and generally safe country. This policy will be launching from July 2016, which will be just in time for the Chale Wote street arts festival in August.
Will your 2016 travel plans include Ghana? Do you think other African countries will follow Ghana’s example? Let us know by leaving a comment below or reaching me on Twitter @rafeeeeta