Thursday, July 25, 2024

Aliko Dangote: I need 35 visas to travel in Africa, way more than European visitors

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has lamented the difficulties that Africans face when moving within the continent as opposed to travelers from Europe and the Americas who are shown an open door.

He lamented that he faces these hurdles even from countries where he has running business interests. According to Dangote, he is required to apply for multiple visas to travel in Africa.

“As an investor, as someone who wants to make Africa great, I have to apply for 35 different visas on my passport. I really don’t have the time to go and drop off my passport in embassies to get a visa,” Dangote was quoted by the CNN during the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali.

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“I can assure you that Patrick (Pouyanné, CEO of Total Energies) doesn’t need 35 visas on a French passport, which means you have freer movement than myself in Africa,” said Aliko Dangote who is 67.

During the forum, Dangote applauded  Rwanda which in 2023 eliminated visas for all African nationals. Other countries that have also eliminated visas for all African nationals include Benin, The Gambia and Seychelles.

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Kenya had announced that it would eliminate the need for a visa starting in January 2024. However, it turned out that travelers to Kenya need to apply and pay for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to travel to Kenya.

The CNN report on the travel restrictions faced by Africans within Africa also quoted Nigerian travel filmmaker Tayo Aina expressing how he was humiliated at Bore International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in April 2021. Tayo narrated that he was forced to give a stool sample in front of an Ethiopian immigration officer. Apparently, he had been singled out for testing to confirm that he had not ingested any drugs.

“It was my most humiliating experience traveling within Africa,” he told CNN, adding that he had also been detained at airports in Kenya and South Africa because of his Nigerian passport.

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He claimed that to circumvent the discrimination, he has acquired a passport from the Caribbean country of St Kitts and Nevis for $150,000 (Sh. 19.8 million) so that he can be able to travel more freely. “Sometimes you go to a country, and it is no longer visa-on-arrival. There are cases where people get deported when they land because they changed the policy mid-flight,” he claimed in the report by the CNN.

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