Image

Africa Union To Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year |RN

 

This year, the African Union (AU) will unveil the design for a single passport for all Africans. The unified passport will ease the free movement of people while spurring economic growth. It will also promote intra-African trade, and eventually creating a continent with seamless borders.

https://twitter.com/AU_KwesiQuartey/status/1080355724889333761/photo/1

In a statement, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat revealed that at the 32nd African Union summit in February, the commission will present details on the design, production, and issuance of the long-awaited African passport.

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year
Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat

 

First introduced in 2016, the African passport remains exclusive to heads of States and other diplomats. Chadian leader Idriss Déby and Rwandan president Paul Kagame are the first recipients. The document will permit AU passport holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states, without requiring a visa.

 

The move is likely to be a windfall for citizens of African states, who hold some of the least powerful passports in the world. Movement within their own continent is hard for Africans. At best, only Seychelles and Benin offer visa-free travel to Africans. At worse, travelers from South Sudan and Burundi need visas to go to 48 and 47 African countries, respectively.

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year
Source: Quartz Africa

But now, the AU faces the challenge of making sure the passport lives up to its potential. That it doesn’t fulfill detractors’ fears of heightened terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration.

For some, this move will no doubt be challenging, with many African states already resistant to migrants and refugees. Plus, some have been quietly tightening visa policies. Faki, however, stated the AU will push for more integration saying, “the persisting obstacles to our citizens’ movement within their own continent are simply unacceptable.”

Why the single African passport is important

The passport is a step towards eliminating borders on the continent, aiming to enable deeper integration, increased trade and further development. Just as important, the passport is also a powerful symbol of unity across Africa. It’s also a step towards connecting African countries economically and politically.

An AU passport, therefore, represents the latest effort to create a common market spanning the continent, much like that in the E.U.

An African passport is an exciting development that can spur growth and improve living standards. To capitalize on this potential, the AU needs to plan two steps ahead. Crafting thoughtful regulations will be essential to ensuring the African passport’s economic promise is genuinely available to everyone and not subject to abuse.  (Afro Hustler)

 

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

Visa Denial: National Assembly Summons US Ambassador |The Republican News

Samson Folarin

 

The National Assembly has summoned the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, over the alleged high rate of visa denial of Nigerians.

The invitation was said to be at the instance of an activist, Kayode Bello, who petitioned the House over the matter.

The PUNCH had done an investigation into how many Nigerian students seeking to study in US schools were denied visas despite spending a lot of money on different fees.

Some of the fees, our correspondent learnt, were application fees, evaluation fees, courier fees, service fees, visa fees, school fees.

The fees were said to be non-refundable.

While some of the students claimed that they were denied visas because they were not married, others said they were denied because only one of their parents was their sponsor.

A parent claimed that his daughter’s interview was cut short because she asked the interviewer to speak up.

Our correspondent was further told that the embassy usually issued preprinted blue papers to those it rejected without giving a specific reason for the decision.

More than three weeks after enquiries were sent to the embassy, no response had been got by The PUNCH.

A former ambassador to the US, John Campbell had, however, told our correspondent that visas were given by consular officers on a case by case basis, adding that the refusal of many people to return home after finishing their programmes made the process difficult.

The activist, Bello, petitioned the National Assembly through a member representing the Ede and Ejigbo Federal Constituency, Prof. Mojeed Alabi, after suffering a similar fate of denial.

The summon, titled, ‘Indiscriminate denial of United States of America visa and illegal increment of exchange rate of visa fee by the American embassy’ was signed by the House Committee Chairman on Public Petitions, Uzo Azubuike.

The two-page document, dated November 27, 2018, and a copy of which was received by our correspondent, said the hearing would hold on Tuesday, December 4 at 2pm at the House of Representatives Room 429.

The House asked the ambassador to present 20 copies of his defence.

The Clerk of the House, Mr Omale Adoyi, confirmed the development to our correspondent on Monday.

He, however, said the US embassy rejected the summon.

“But we will go on with the hearing and may have to adjourn if they fail to show up,” he added.

See the letter:

Punch

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

African Countries To Abolish Visas For Nigerians – Lai Mohammed |RN

From Fred Itua, Abuja 

The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has disclosed how President Muhammadu Buhari is spearheading a programme where Africans, including Nigeria, would not need visas to visit other African countries.

The minister said once the move is accomplished and the visa regime is liberalised, tourists would be encouraged to visit African countries.

Mohammed made these known when he briefed newsmen, shortly after defending the sector’s budget before the Senate Committee on Tourism, in Abuja, yesterday.

The minister noted that there is an improvement in Nigeria’s visa regime and that the current “visa on arrival programme” recently introduced by the Federal Government, is working very well.

Also, 24 hours after Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun told visitors that the Federal Government will soon release N750 billion to fund capital projects in the 2017 budget, Mohammed, also spoke on the level of implementation.

“It is not that government is deliberately withholding releases to fund the 2017 budget or starving us. It is because we do not have enough money to do that.

“When budgets are made, they are made based on certain assumptions and if you are not able to get enough to meet your assumptions, there will be poor release.

“At least, there is improvement in different sectors like the Nigeria Customs Service, while the price of crude oil is getting better. There is also more peace in the Niger Delta. So we can produce more,’’ the minister disclosed.

He opined that Public, Private Partnership is one of the most viable ways to revive the tourism sector and that efforts are being made by the present administration in that direction.

The minister also said there is remarkable improvement in the sector’s activities.

He said: “Anybody who has been observing what is happening in the creative industry, including culture, film industry, fashion, will see that there is remarkable transformation and that is because government has provided the enabling environment.

“The creative industry is on a tripod, the government, the private sector and the practitioners and what government has done is to give the support that the industry needs to grow.

“For instance, sometime this year, the Federal Government included the film industry in the list of industries that will enjoy pioneer status. What this means is that if you invest in this industry with a certain amount of money, you will be entitled to tax holiday for three years at the initial stage and another two years. In addition, dividends from your businesses will be exempted from taxation. This is one of the incentives government has given.”

The Minister said meetings had been held with relevant stakeholders in ensuring that they contributed their quota to the development of the sector.

“At the creative industry financing summit  held recently, we  met with the Inspector General of Police to express our concern at the rate of piracy. He immediately set up an anti-piracy unit in each command of the federation.

“We also met the Central Bank Governor asking  for an intervention fund to the tune of 100 million dollars to enable people in the  industry to invest in infrastructure. Also, as I speak to you, we are talking to NEXIM Bank. We are equally talking to some investors, who are ready to bring in 20 million dollars.

“This is to enable the industries, especially the film industry to have cinema houses all over the country. So, what is important is enabling environment,’’ he said.

Mohammed listed part of the present government’s achievements to include revival of the Presidential Council on Tourism, headed by the President, with ministers as members. (The Sun)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading