Congo and Angola have agreed to remove visa requirements: A Visa-free Africa is still a dream and a mission that the continent wants to achieve. It is difficult but possible and it would require significant collaboration and co-ordination among African countries to make it a reality. More and more countries are taking initiatives to make this happen and Congo and Angola are the latest countries in this regard.
Congo and Angola scrap Visa requirement for officials
In a major development, Congo and Angola have agreed to remove visa requirements for their officials when travelling between the two countries.
The Congo and Angola have exempted officials, holders of diplomatic or public passports, of visa requirement in a move to facilitate mobility.
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As per a report, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, Congo’s top diplomat and his Angolan counterpart Tete António signed the agreement in the framework of the 8th joint cooperation committee between the two countries held in capital Brazzaville.
The move is aimed at facilitating mobility and strengthening ties between the two countries. It is also expected to promote economic co-operation and encourage more business and investment between Congo and Angola.
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The two countries have also agreed to kickstart the finalization of cooperation agreements in the areas of small and medium enterprises, construction crafts, urban planning, housing, forestry and wildlife ecosystems, tourism and the promotion of women.
Sassou Nguesso and Antonio also committed themselves to oversee the relaunch of the work of the Joint Technical Commission of Border Experts and its sub-commissions.
They also recommended the establishment of an economic forum in view of tapping into the economic potentials of the two countries.
Thus, as the two countries work to strengthen their relationship, the removal of Visa requirements for officials can be seen as a further step in this direction.
Boost to African Unity
This is also a major step in realizing the objective of a United Africa and ensuring free movement of Africans in the continent. Africa still remains the continent with the highest use of intra-continental visas. There has long been a push for African countries to open up their borders to visitors and many countries have also done so in recent times to drive tourism and also encourage global trade.
Recently, Kenya and Egypt had also agreed to establish free visa entry for diplomatic and official passport holders. Further, the two countries were also reportedly working together to finalize a 100 percent visa-free regime between both the countries for ordinary passports within six months by October 1, 2023.
Further, the move was also in line with the African vision of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Thus, it may be possible that Angola and Congo may also work together to establish a 100 percent Visa-free regime between the two countries, in near future.
Visa-free travel for all Africans is still a dream for the continent. It’s incredibly difficult for Africans to move around their own continent.
However, the continent has achieved considerable progress on this recently. Further, this is also an important aspect for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Under the agreement African countries will be able to trade goods and services without tariffs with each other.
Keeping in mind all this, Angola and Congo scrapping their Visa requirements for officials is certainly a great step in the realization of the larger goal of uniting the continent and deepen greater economic integration.
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