Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, has implied that tourists from the other African countries will no longer be required get visas to enter Nigeria from the next year.
Onyeama said this while addressing a meeting on the foreign policy perspective of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari-led government at the Town Hall in Abuja.
He said the visa-free proposal was in agreement with the AU (African Union) which had announced this year a plan of having a single passport and allowing African nationals visa-free travel within the continent by 2020. This plan was mooted to encourage intermingling of African nationals, besides allowing people and goods to move about freely within the continent.
As of now, though Nigerians do not need visas to travel within the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), which comprises fifteen countries in West Africa, they face stringent visa rules that other African countries have imposed in the other parts of the continent.
Allafrica.com quotes Onyeama as saying that the policy will expand the economic area for Nigerians since only 10 percent of the trade happens among African countries. Most African nations prefer to trade with countries outside the continent, he said.
He stated that Nigeria was firmly committed to the African single passport and the proposal to allow Free Trade Area in the continent from 2017, allowing manufacturers and entrepreneurs in Nigeria access to a bigger market for their merchandise. Nigeria wants the ECOWAS-type visa-free travel to be extended across Africa because it would boost trade, said Onyeama.
He added that the Nigerian government wants to boost economic development in the country by allowing foreign direct investments, besides allowing export and market entry for Nigerian business people.