In a move aimed at fostering closer ties and easing travel restrictions between Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), both countries have reciprocally lifted visa requirements for their respective citizens.
This significant development was formally announced by the Directorate General of Migration in the DRC, and it officially took effect on September 1, 2023. The change in visa policy coincided with Kenya’s own decision to waive visa requirements for Congolese nationals visiting Kenya.
The decision to eliminate visa requirements for Kenyan travelers to the DRC aligns with the directives of the DRC President and underscores the commitment to enhancing regional integration within the East African Community (EAC). As a result of this decision, Kenya has been moved from category 2 to category 1 in terms of visa requirements, bringing it in line with EAC regulations promoting free movement among member states.
This move towards simplified travel procedures echoes a broader trend in Africa. During the African Private Sector Dialogue Conference on Free Trade, President William Ruto hinted at the possibility that this might be the last time African citizens need to pay for visas to visit Kenya.
In recent months, Kenya has taken steps to promote visa-free travel by extending such privileges to citizens of Indonesia, Comoros, and Senegal. Additionally, Kenya and Eritrea have reached an agreement to permanently waive visa requirements for their respective citizens. Kenya is actively pursuing similar visa-free arrangements with other nations, including Djibouti, as part of its efforts to boost trade and cooperation.
In another positive development, holders of Kenyan passports are now eligible for visa-free entry into South Africa, thanks to a new visa-free regime established through diplomatic negotiations. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa played a pivotal role in facilitating this arrangement.
These progressive changes in visa policies represent significant strides towards facilitating travel and fostering closer cooperation among African nations. These developments hold the potential to greatly benefit citizens and promote regional integration across the continent.