Loading... please wait


Advancing Social & Economic Mobility Across the African Continent


Programming Partner: Global Citizen Forum


  • For James Ireland, the most significant barriers to the free movement of people and goods within Africa are lack of investment in infrastructure, friction at borders, cumbersome and slow visa processes, and few intra-continental flights. 
  • The African Union Passport allows bearers to travel visa-free to all 55 states of Africa. Zephanie Niyonkuru explained that while rollout will prove challenging, the passport will vastly improve intra-continental mobility and positively impact trade and business activities on the continent. 

“I consider the [African Union] passport as one of the initiatives that will improve the mobility of people and the overall economy of Africa,” Zephanie Niyonkuru

  • Yvonne Manzi Makolo highlighted the important role that air travel plays in promoting economic development in Africa. The airline industry is currently facing a multitude of challenges, including high aviation taxes, steep operating costs, inadequate infrastructure, and shrunken airline networks owing to COVID-19. 
  • Ireland and Manzi Makolo agreed that the benefits of opening African countries to people and goods outweigh the potential security issues associated with open borders, and that such security issues can be adequately managed. Manzi Makolo explained that investment in systems that collect advanced passenger information would empower governments to mitigate security risks.

“Moving from a physical visa to an e-visa, one that will not require somebody to be grounded for six months because his or her passport is in process, will definitely improve mobility,” Armand Arton

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • We urgently need to remove the barriers to air travel in Africa and call on African governments to make visa processes less cumbersome.


Session Speakers