*Rwandan President, Paul Kagame
Rwandan President, Paul Kagame said his country is considering scrapping visa fees for citizens of the Commonwealth nations as well as the African Union and La Francophonie member countries. Kagame made the announcement at the International School for Government at King’s College in London. He was speaking about Rwanda’s transformation journey especially under his leadership as president of that country.
“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 world in the event of reciprocity by beneficiary countries.
President Kagame was in the UK for the recent UK-Africa Summit where he also 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.