Rwanda continues to climb the ladder as it is stated by recent  Africa Visa Openness Index and ranks in third position in 2018 after Seychelles and Benin, which made the country improving access for nine countries on the continent. Africans enjoy liberal access to the country of a thousand hills, with no visa required for 15 countries and visa on arrival for 38 countries. The East African nation moved up from no.9 in 2017, and no.9 in 2016.The country attracted higher numbers of visitors, greater investment, and hosted more conferences due to the removal of travel restrictions.

Released in Addis Ababa,the ranking comes weeks after a Gallup Poll ranked Rwanda the third most welcoming country for migrants worldwide, behind Iceland and New Zealand.

The 2017 Rwanda Development Board(RDB)’s Annual Report also shows that In 2017, the majority of the 1.5 million(87%) international non resident arrivals reached Rwanda by land , while 43% came from the EAC region, the largest group arrived from other parts of Africa (45%).

African travellers arrive to Cotonou in Benin.Photo:Cyril NDEGEYA

According to the AfDB report, between 2013-2016, the number of Africans receiving visas on arrival in Rwanda increased by more than 100%.

The report also highlights countries and regions looking to open up on visas like Ethiopia which holds the 50th place on the report.In May 2018, The Ethiopian Prime Minister  Abiy Ahmed announced that Ethiopia had already automated its visa application system and announced a decision to liberalize visas for African travelers.

Cotonou,the capital city of Benin.Photo:Cyril NDEGEYA

Namibia(ranked 38th) is also on the move to liberalise its visa policy framework in October 2017, with a decision for all Africans to be issued visas on arrival, as part of a wider goal to remove visa requirements altogether.

The CEMAC region (Central African Economic and Monetary Union) has also ratified free movement of people as of October 2017, allowing citizens from the six member states being Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo,to travel visa-free.

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