The African Union Commission will in February present details on the design, production, and issuance of the long-awaited African passport, the head of the continental body Moussa Faki Mahamat has said.
The unified passport is aimed at easing the free movement of people, spurring economic growth, promoting intra-African trade, and eventually creating a “continent with seamless borders.”
The announcement comes in the heels of the AU’s launch of a single air market initiative to improve connectivity and a free trade agreement to establish a common market for goods and services. If the heads of state assembly adopt the measures in February, it will pave the way for of the issuance of the African passport in accordance with respective national laws and regulations.
According to reports, the move is likely to be a windfall for citizens of African states, who hold some of the least powerful passports in the world. Movement within their own continent is hard for Africans too: only Seychelles and Benin offer visa-free travel to all African travelers. And even as visa regimes get relaxed, travelers from nations like South Sudan and Burundi need visas to go to 48 and 47 African countries respectively.