African Parliaments; African Union

We Africans recall the excitement when The African Union Assembly adopted the African Passport at its July 2016 Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, and urged all member states to work with the African Union Commission to facilitate its issuance to us.

We grieve at the constant reminder that travel by Africans in Africa remains very restrictive due to the prohibitory costs, inadequate transport infrastructure and barriers related to visa costs and processing. The African Development Bank’s 2017 report reveals that Africans need visas to travel to 55% of African Countries and only 13 of 54 countries offer visa free or visa on arrival access to Africans. 2018 is the deadline by which we citizens should have had our African Passport issued. It is very unfortunate that this is certainly not going to happen. The very last deadline by which this Passport should be available to citizens is 2023. This deadline will mark the end of the First Ten Year (2013-2023) Implementation Plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 to transform Africa. We are very disheartened that this deadline too might pass without us getting African Passports to allow us to move freely on our continent.

We acknowledge the challenges that some fear might arise with more open borders - especially easier movement of criminals across borders and increased pressure on infrastructure and jobs. However, the introduction of the African Passport will not abolish border controls to authenticate travellers moving across borders. In fact, just like all our presidents, the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank, we firmly argue that the benefits that will accrue: enhanced intra-African trade and investment, increased remittances within Africa, greater access to education, research, science and technology, and faster mobilisation of human and material resources, far outweigh the potential challenges.

We citizens of African countries, and of all political persuasions, therefore petition our national Parliaments to pass legislation adopting and funding the African Passport.
We hereby demand that our national Parliaments;
1. pass legislation adopting the African Passport,
2. create an implementation timeline in which the African Passport would
be produced by 2021,
3. aggressively lobby the African Union Commission to provide the pledged
technical support to produce the African passport by 2021,
4. and pass budgets for the production, distribution and popularisation of the
African Passport

As citizens that are cognizant of Africa’s historical challenges, of the challenges surmounted throughout colonial times and the post independence era, we can’t help but recognize how far we still have to walk and how fast we have to run to get to the integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa envisaged under Agenda 2063. We accept the historical evidence that it is through unity with our African brothers and sisters that we achieved our biggest milestones, and assert that delivering on the African Passport will advance that unity. We urge our Parliaments to honour the pledge to avail citizens with African passports as a feasible achievement, a facilitator of Pan African Unity, and a driver of economic progress.

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The Support the African Passport petition to African Parliaments; African Union was written by Victor Okoth and is in the category Government at GoPetition.