KIGALI– The launch of the African Union Passport, considered a critical development to ease free movement of people, spur economic growth and development as well as promote Intra-African trade, is expected to take place on Sunday at the 27th African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali.
African Heads of State will officially launch the passport during the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU), paving the way for beginning the process to commence issuance of this travel document.
Regional trade integration has long been a strategic objective for Africa yet, despite some success in eliminating non-tariff barriers within regional communities, the African market remains highly fragmented.
A range of non-tariff and regulatory barriers still raise transaction costs and limit the movement of goods, services, people and capital across borders throughout Africa.
Boosting Intra-Africa trade
With the promotion of Intra-African trade, it will boost and ease doing business within African countries which later will reduce the trade deficit among African nations.
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said the issuance of African passport was one of the African strategic initiatives to disband all movement restrictions, which will eventually create a conducive environment for inter-African trade.
“Rwanda is ready for the AU Passport issuance. Other countries will also be working towards implementation of this decision. The free movement of people in Africa will spur our economic growth,” she said during a press conference Ihursday on the sidelines of the African Union Summit at the Kigali Convention Center (KCC), in Rwanda.
The concept of unrestricted movement of persons, goods and services across regions and the continent is not new; it has been outlined in documents like the Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty – an indication that the unhampered movement of citizens is critical for Africa’s development.