Rwanda is considering scrapping visa fees for citizens of the Commonwealth nations as well as the African Union and La Francophonie member countries, President Paul Kagame has announced. Kagame made the announcement recently at the International School for Government at King’s College in London, while speaking about Rwanda’s transformation journey.
The conversation was moderated by Alexander Downer, the Executive Chair of the institution. The President emphasised Rwanda’s commitment to trade with the rest of the world.
“We are soon considering exempting citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as the African Union and the Francophonie, from paying visa fees when entering Rwanda,” he said.
The move was expected to ease access to Rwanda for a significant section of the international community.
The Commonwealth has 53 members while Francophonie has 54 member states across the world.
To date, only 17 African countries were exempted from paying visa fees. The tally of African countries, Commonwealth member states and La Francophonie comes to about 95 countries set to benefit from the move.
This, development experts say, would among other things increase chances of Rwanda hosting global summits due to ease of access, among other benefits. The development could also see Rwandans easily access countries from across the in the event of reciprocity by beneficiary countries.
Kagame who was in the UK for the UK-Africa Summit said that there is a positive momentum in terms of the relationship between the United Kingdom and Africa, including Rwanda.
“The timing is good. Britain is looking to re-imagine its global trade and investment arrangements. And later this year, the world’s largest new free trade area will become operational in Africa, covering nearly the entire continent,” he said.