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Seychelles remains top in Africa Visa openness for sixth year |28 December 2022

Seychelles remains top in Africa Visa openness for sixth year

For the sixth consecutive year, Seychelles remains at the top of the Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI), a measure of the extent to which each country in Africa is open to visitors from other African countries.

Seychelles ranks first alongside Benin and The Gambia on the 2022 index, as the only African countries which offer visa-free access to all Africans, meaning all 53 remaining African territories. In 2016 and 2017, only one country offered visa-free entry to all other African countries.  

The AVOI has ranked Seychelles first since 2016, and joint first alongside Benin since 2018 and The Gambia since 2020.

In terms of the region, Seychelles ranks significantly higher than regional counterparts. Despite not ranking among the top ten, the other three island-states are among the top-20 performers, as Mauritius comes in 11th, Comoros in 14th position, while Madagascar is ranked 15th.

Neighbouring Mauritius offers visa-free access to 27 African countries, grants visa on arrival to visitors from 21, while others from five countries are required to obtain a visa prior to travels.

Meanwhile, all African visitors to the Comoros Island are granted a visa upon arrival.  Visitors from 52 African countries are granted a visa upon arrival in Madagascar, with visitors from only one country obligated to go through and obtain a visa prior to entering.

In 2021, Mauritius ranked in 13th position, Comoros in 15th and Madagascar was in 16th position.

As per vice-president of Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery of the AfDB, Khaled Sherif, the AVOI can help countries drive policy reforms that will build resilience and strengthen Africa’s recovery. It will also help Africans decide where to visit, where to do business and where to invest.

Two-thirds of countries in all regions of the continent have improved or maintained their visa openness score over the past five years. On the continent, the largest visa openness improvements over 2016 to 2022 were recorded by West African countries, including Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and The Gambia.

Visa openness refers to the ease with which visitors from other African countries are authorised to enter the country of destination. Countries which are visa-open have liberal or relaxed visa policies, meaning either does not need a visa to enter, or a visa is granted upon arrival. On the contrary, visa-restrictive countries require visitors to obtain visas prior to travel, either from an embassy, consulate, or through other sources.

The AVOI is a joint initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union (AU) Commission.


Laura Pillay

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