Did you know that African countries authorities have already issued a few African Union passports? However, is this all that needs to be done on a way to African integration and unity? Keep reading to see what else should be done.
Last Sunday was a great day for all the Africans. The prominent figures of the African Union have issued a few of the new passports. It is a move that should be remembered as it is on a way to the creation of a strong and united African Union.
The honor of being the first people who received these single passports was given to the Presidents of Chad and Rwanda as well as the leader of the African Union. They looked quite excited on the pictures were taken by the journalists. However, they admitted that this is only a beginning.
The idea behind the African single passport is to unite the continent and all the separate states on it and give Africans an opportunity to travel around Africa without limitations and the constant need to get visa and entry permit.
There are two kinds of passports. The first kind is aiming to help businesspeople or other people that have to travel a lot on business. These people can get a new passport from the African Union. The rest of the Africans will receive their passports from the authorities in their countries. The African Union passport will carry the name of the organization.
This single passport implementation aims to advance the trading conditions between the countries on the African continent. The official sources state that only 13 countries let their visitors enter without a visa at all or get it on the arrival. This number is insignificant, as there are 55 countries on the continent in general.
Therefore, the trade is not improving, as the states choose to do business with their former colonials rather than fight to get the permit to exchange goods and services with their neighbors. As the economy of certain African countries is not in its best state today, the African Union is trying to improve the situation by opening the borders and inviting businesspeople from different states to collaborate.
The idea of the African integration has been discussed for more than 20 years so far, and finally, steps are being taken on the way to improvements.
The single African Union passport will be at first only issued to the authorities of different states and employees of the African Union. The foundation has been already made by issuing passports to the heads of two states – Chad and Rwanda. The African Union wants to provide all the citizens with passports of this kind; however, they cannot say when this will be done, as there are many factors that influence the implementation of the single passport in many countries.
The Chairman of the African Union stated that each country would have to establish certain rules about the issuance of the passport. For instance, they cannot say for all the countries whether their citizens will be still able to use their old ID to travel around the continent or they now have to apply and wait to get a new passport. Decisions like this were left for the countries to decide.
All the members of the African Union will get access to a shared database once they start the campaign of implementation of the single passport. So far only Morocco was left outside the African Union. However, the trusted sources point out that the head of the mentioned state expressed the desire of getting back into the Union again.
The passport of the African Union is made on the example of the European Union passport. It complies with the standards. IT is a biometric document, which makes it a more secure document than a regular passport. With this passport and database, it will be easier for the authorities to keep a close eye on the possible terrorists or criminals.
READ ALSO: What is “Africa Passport”?
However, the fact that the borders will be put down, it means that the whole continent will be more vulnerable to the terroristic acts or any other problems that take place in one country or region. Having no borders, the whole continent can suffer the consequences.
People in Africa still have doubts that this move with the passports and cancellation of visas will be made any time soon. The integration process in Africa is a complicated process and needs more time and effort to be implemented. This issue was discussed for the last twenty years, and the first step has only been made on Sunday. Therefore, it might take even more time before all the countries will develop new legislation for passports issue.
Moreover, Africans believe that some countries might not be willing to open their borders to the rest of the continent. These countries are usually those with the better economic situation. For instance, South Africa might not be willing to take even more immigrants, since the country is already struggling with the growing number of people of all backgrounds coming to live here seeking better life conditions. Some sources state that there are numerous xenophobic attacks within the country, and the citizens might protest against opening the borders.
The trusted sources noted that Africans in some regions stated that they found it insulting that the elite was given the privilege of getting the first single passports. Some of these people even wrote to the editor of the BBC Africa trying to involve publicity in this situation.
Other people claim that they do not need all these long and expensive procedures of single African passport issue. This will cost the African Union much money and time, which will steal focus from some more important things.
They believe that the effort wasted on the passport campaign could be used in an attempt to overcome attacks by insurgents or even preventing disease spreading.
Considering that the main focus of the African Union is African integration and opening borders that will improve the economic state of the continent by cross-trade and traveling, authorities are still worried that they do not have enough resources to provide an excellent traveling service.
There are not enough flights that connect at least the capital cities of the states on the continent. It is interesting to see that some African countries have more connections with the European Union states than with their neighboring African ones.
A brilliant example of the reality in this area is that having fewer flights than needed between two big cities, sometimes people have to travel to Europe first and then get back to the continent. This is a huge problem, and it has to be solved before the big changes come into power. Otherwise, Africans would have more freedom, but it won’t be possible for them to use it.
For those of our readers who doubt that African integrity is a good idea in the view of the sovereignty of each and every state individually, be sure that this issue can be only solved with the principle of compromise and respect to the rights of others.
So let’s wait and see what changes the single passport will bring to Africa and how fast they will take place.