African leaders move to revisit travel policy, consider existing ones too harsh


When Nigeria’s Software Evangelist, Motivational Speaker and Author, Mubarak Tiamiyu, went on the Internet to make public his seemingly “white elephant” wish on the 25th of May, in celebration of Africa Day, many probably thought he was crazy. Perhaps, African Leaders are buying his craze with their recent resolution to revisit the unfriendly migration policy in Africa.

The Motivational Speaker and Life Coach, under the harsh tag “BorderFreeAfrica”, shared his OpenAfrica and VisaFreeAfrica idea, in commemoration of the year’s celebration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union). In celebrating the 54th year anniversary of the organisation, Bestselling Author of Act Like a Corper , Think Like a Gold (Mubarak Tiamiyu), on social media made a wish to see an Africa with less stress on travels, where it will become pretty easy to air-shuttle between countries like a free bird without unnecessary delays resulting from visa arrangements.

According to the statement, Mubarak Tiamiyu “as a Public Speaker and Actor,” wants “an Africa where” he “can deliver talks in Cairo, shoot movies in Dar es Salaam, mentor people in Johannesburg and return to Abuja for Dinner.” He believes this is possible if African countries sign “a Border Free Africa” policy.

As a matter of fact, it sucks to consider travelling around Africa with such inconvenience as the reality is. It’s even more demoralising when one considers the time consuming processes and procedures to undertake when traveling out of the continent to other regions.

With the latest development and resolution from the launch of the High Level Panel on Migration in Africa, it is highly commendable that African leaders have identified this hitch in the system and ready to address the situation. During the launch, Abdalla Hamdok, the Acting Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), acknowledged that travelling in Africa is currently characterized by immigration restrictions.

“Travel in Africa by Africans is curtailed by stringent visa requirements, excessive border controls and immigration restrictions.” He also noted that these visa requirements, controls and restrictions add up to the high cost and risk for anyone embarking on a trip.

“Data shows that less than three per cent of Africa’s population have migrated internationally and less than 12 per cent of the total migrant [population] in Europe are from Africa,” Abdalla Hamdok said this while trying to show how low the number of migrants from Africa is as according to statistics.

In supporting the motion earlier raised by the Acting Executive Secretary, President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf lamented the tragedy that some migrants have to suffer in the cause of taking alternative routes like moving through Sahara Desert into Europe. She cited the case that was reported in the news about migrants who lost their lives in the desert.

“Just last week, some forty young men and women died of thirst in the Sahara Desert, while trying to reach Europe,” the President recalled.

Having refuse to sit and watch Africans continue to suffer hardship on Migration, the panel proposed to make consultations in the coming months and make substantial recommendations which will be submitted at the July 2018 African Union Summit.

It is hereby hoped that with the full implementation of future recommended strategies from this 14-member High-Level Panel, migration issues will be looked into and pushed to the top of policy agenda in a way to address the situation by engaging major stakeholders and partners. Perhaps, by then, Africans can smile and the Visa-Free-Africa dream of Mr Mubarak will come true.

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