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ILO recommends scrapping of visa requirements to African governments

June 2, 2015 The recent tragedy in the Mediterranean that claimed the lives of over eight hundred would be African migrants into Europe have sparked reactions from across the world. They have also highlighted the challenges faced by those who seek to travel through the right channels and the need to review travel requirements.

The International Labor Organization has added their voice seeking solutions to discourage youths from exiting the continent in large numbers through illegal routes, by calling for African countries to scrap visa requirements for Africans. Not all African countries offer visa free travel to other African countries and the ILO considers this a situation that should be addressed.

ILO believes scrapping these visa fees would promote movement across the continent and end the rising rates of Africans who die while attempting deadly trips to Europe in search of better living and opportunities.

Head of ILO Africa regional programming unit in Ethiopia Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, says African countries should follow on the heels of Rwanda which has scrapped visa applications for other East African countries. She said that countries citing security concerns as the reason to persist in the current system have no real excuse, using Rwanda and neighbouring DR Congo as examples.

According to her, “We have closed Africa to Africans through visas. Getting a visa is a long and expensive process and this is an issue we are asking all regional blocs to put high on their agendas so we can open Africa to Africans,”.

The ILO regional chief also urged African governments to build strong economies to discourage the continent’s young population from being lured to make perilous trips outside the continent for better economic opportunities.

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