Kenya and Comoros have recently signed an agreement to facilitate visa-free travel for citizens of Comoros to Kenya. This significant development is part of Kenya's efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties and boost trade relations with Comoros and other African nations.
Below, we provide a detailed overview of this visa deal, its implications, and the broader context of Kenya visa free initiatives.
- On a historic day during the 48th anniversary of Comoros' independence, President William Ruto announced that Kenya would abolish visa requirements for Comoros citizens.
- The President committed to implementing this change before the end of 2023, signaling Kenya's eagerness to foster closer relations with Comoros.
Driving Force: African Free Trade
- President Ruto's announcement aligns with Kenya's support for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
- During the African Private Sector Dialogue Conference on Free Trade, he emphasized the importance of removing barriers to the movement of people across Africa.
- Ruto acknowledged the inconvenience of visa fees for African delegates visiting Kenya and expressed his commitment to eliminating this obstacle.
- President Azali Assoumani of Comoros welcomed President Ruto's apology for the previous visa requirements, emphasizing the warmth of their relationship.
- In a light-hearted manner, Azali joked that Ruto might not want to return to Kenya, given the strong bonds between the two nations.
Expanding Visa-Free Access
- The Kenya-Comoros visa deal adds Comoros to a select group of countries with visa-free access to Kenya.
- Earlier in the year, Kenya and Eritrea reached an agreement to permanently scrap visa requirements for their citizens.
- Kenya also engaged in discussions with Djibouti in June, aiming to establish a visa-free regime to promote trade between the two nations.
South Africa Visa-Free Entry for Kenyans
- In a separate development, Kenyan citizens holding ordinary passports were granted visa-free entry to South Africa.
- This decision came as a result of negotiations between the two countries, with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa playing a crucial role.
The Kenya-Comoros visa deal is a significant step towards enhancing diplomatic relations, promoting trade, and fostering unity within Africa. President Ruto's commitment to eliminating visa requirements demonstrates Kenya's dedication to facilitating the movement of people across the continent. This initiative aligns with the broader goals of AfCFTA, driving economic growth and cooperation among African nations. It also highlights Kenya's proactive approach to engaging with its neighbors and the rest of the continent, ultimately contributing to Africa's collective progress and development.