Visa-free movement of people between African countries is set to become a reality soon amid revelations that only 11 state signatories are needed to ensure the African Union’s Protocol on Free Movement of Persons comes into force, APA learnt here on Wednesday.AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining, Albert Muchanga said there has been progress in the ratification process for the protocol under which the continent’s 55 member states have committed to allow the free movement of people across borders.
At least two-thirds of the member states or 37 countries are required to ratify an AU protocol, after which the legal instrument would enter into force.
“Once the protocol is ratified, there will then be visa-free movement of people, and ultimately, the mainstream introduction of the African passport,” Muchanga told journalists in the South African port city of Durban which hosted the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) 2021.
Another anticipated outcome of the protocol would be the rollout of a common African passport.
Muchanga said the ratification of the protocol is also expected to complement implementation of the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to create a unified continental market of more than one billion people and promote intra-Africa trade.
IATF 2021 ended on Sunday with a collective commitment to ensure that the economic stimulation triggered by the event translated into the continued strengthening of the AfCFTA.