By Justina Simon
Kenyan President, William Ruto, has announced a visa-free deal with the South-African government from 2023.
This is coming after a long-standing visa dispute between the two countries, as the agreement allows Kenyans to visit South Africa for up to 90 days within a year.
Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and William Ruto jointly announced this agreement on Wednesday, allowing Kenyans with ordinary passports to be granted entry to South Africa, based on a new visa-free regime between the two countries.
The agreement jointly announced read, “We have discussed the issue of visas between South Africa and Kenya, to allow Kenyans to visit South Africa on a visa-free basis,” Mr Ramaphosa said. “This will officially start on January 1, 2023, and it will be available to Kenyans for 90 days per year.”
“The two countries have also agreed on a return policy when immigration laws and regulations are breached to make sure that bad elements that try to infiltrate our borders are dealt with firmly and decisively,” Mr Ruto said.
However, South Africans already get free visas on arrival in Kenya, while Kenyans were charged and required to provide proof of sufficient funds and return flight tickets.
During Ramaphosa’s first official visit to Kenya, Ruto praised the Ethiopia peace agreement signed last week in South Africa and brokered by the African Union.
They appealed to the parties to “ensure full implementation of the agreement to reach a lasting political settlement.”
Leaders of the two countries directed their trade ministers to address barriers that limit trade between the two countries.
The President said they had also agreed on a return policy when immigration laws and policies are breached. This will help ensure that “bad elements” that try to infiltrate the states’ borders are dealt with by the policies.
Ruto said, “President Ramaphosa and I have also agreed to develop a sustainable mechanism to identify, monitor, and resolve non-tariff barriers that limit the trade potential between our two countries,” he said.
According to the 2022 Henley Passport Index released on Wednesday, Kenya was ranked as the ninth African country with the strongest passport and 76th worldwide able to access 72 destinations alongside Tanzania.
The ranking by Henley saw Seychelles with the most powerful passport in Africa, with access to 153 destinations and 28th globally. Mauritius followed with access to 146 destinations and emerged 33rd worldwide.
The mobility score, which checks the number of countries that a holder of a passport can travel to without a visa, stood at 72.
Kenyans Can Enter South Africa Without Visa From January 2023 is first published on The Whistler Newspaper
Source: The Whistler.