AU member states yet to reach agreement over common passport

first_imgThe dream of having an Africa Union passport continues to remain just that, a thought.The common document is set to replace existing National passports, allowing citizens of the 55 member states visa exemption across the continent.The AU maintains that there has been progress towards the roll-out of the common travel document, but getting all the member states to agree on a common position remains a challenge.The passport was launched in Kigali in July 2016, but has failed to take off as was imagined. Not a single country has issued the Africa passport to its common citizens.“Member states still have to be concerned with security. It’s easy to talk about free movement of people …but free movement comes with attendant risks. Free movement of people could also include free movement of criminals, free movement of illicit materials… So even as national governments are keen to see their citizens to move freely, they also want to be able to control the movement of criminals,” said Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chair of the African Union commission.So far, only 13 out of the 55 African countries allow all Africans to enter either without a visa or to get one on arrival.If implemented, the African passport will open up borders and ease the movement of Africans and their goods across countries.Kwesi however believes this can still be achieved.“The next step really is to empower the national authorities make progress in the design, acquisition, production, procurement of these documents. That means enhancing the entire relationship and cooperation between the AU as a commission and individual national authorities and the ministers of interior”Officially, the passport is supposed to be rolled out in 2018, but going by the slow progress so far, there is no surety of a success.last_img

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