Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) was on Wednesday October 5, 2016 issued with his copy of the African Passport in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
“It is such a delight to be able to have an African Passport,” Adesina said hailing it is a clear signal of the continent’s move toward integration.
He joins Idriss Deby Itno, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and President of the Republic of Chad and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame who made history by becoming the first two people to be issued with the passport at the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda in July this year.
The passport, known as the AU Passport, comes in three versions: Diplomatic (red); Administration (blue); and Ordinary (green). It is first being issued to heads of state and staff of African institutions to enable them travel across the continent on short notice.
It will eventually be issued to all Africans who apply for it.
Adesina said the passport is an economic decision to break the walls that separate African people, hindering them from carrying out socio-economic activities.
“It will reduce the cost of doing business on the continent,” he added.
The Africa Visa Openness Report 2016 published by the AfDB and the
AU shows on average Africans need visas to travel to 55% of other African countries; can get visas on arrival in only 25% of other countries; and don’t need a visa to travel to just 20% of other countries on the continent.
Presenting the passport to Adesina, AfDB Secretary-General and former AU Legal Affairs Director Vincent Nmhielle said that it part of the AU’s 2063 agenda for “a continent with seamless borders.”