Release Of The First Ever African Passport By AU


On May 25, 1963, the 32 African states that had achieved independence agreed to establish the organization of African Unity (OAU). However, as time passed, the organization saw other member states join the institution. In a bid to re-shape the organization, the former chairperson, President Thabo Mbeki disbanded and re-baptized the OAU as the African Union on July 9, 2002. It will be important to admit that during this time, membership of the organization had increased drastically from 32 to 53. Currently made up of 54 African states and Morocco, after 32 years of absenteeism, which may increase the figure to 55 members. The African union, like other international organizations, seeks to promote unity and solidarity of African states, spur economic development, and promote international cooperation.

Recently, in Kigali on July 17, 2016 Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the acting President of the African Union Commission, during the 27th summit of the African Union released the African passport and printed two samples for the acting chairperson, President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad and the second vice-chairperson H.E Paul Kagame of Rwanda, in accordance with the transformation reforms under Agenda 2063. The African passport is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063 with the view to facilitate free movement of persons, goods, services, and to enhance African unity among different states so that African nationals can see themselves as one united people. The Former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi said the united states of Africa is the only way Africa can develop without western interference and the launching of the African passport is just the tip of the iceberg. Many countries in Africa, such as Madagascar, Tunisia, Gabon, and Mali have approved the united states of Africa and are ready to start using the passport.

According to the acting president of the African Union Commission, the initial plan was to deliver these passports to African head of states, Ministers of foreign affairs, and to certain high rank diplomats. But, the aftermath of the launching saw many requests from people who wanted to benefit from the privilege of detaining an African passport. In response to this demand, the Dr. Dlamini Zuma urged all member states to accept the challenge of issuing this African Passport to their citizens in accordance with their national policies. However, many schools of thought have started asking themselves questions as to when and how member states will start issuing the passport because many states remain largely closed off to African travelers, and the few countries to implement the visa-on-arrival policy are Rwanda, Mauritius, and Ghana according to the African development index.

“Africans need visas to travel to 55% of other countries, they can get visas on arrival in only 25% of other countries and don’t need visas to travel to just 20% of other countries on the continent.” This progress has also been worse due to the 30 day visa-on-arrival policy, which AU member states were expected to implement, but it has been sluggish. This alone shows how disunited the unity of Africa can be despite, the African Union taking the bold step to launch the African passport.

Even though the African Union has done a great deal to release the first ever copies of the African passport to diplomats and politicians on the continent, many in Africa now expect the AU to make bold decisions, like the establishment of an international African reserve or an African federal bank for:
A unique petroleum company.
An African court of justice.
A unique African currency and the funding of the AU by the African federal reserve.
Nowadays, the AU has done much and more still needs to be done to meet agenda 2063.

Adewale Daniel Omojowo
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