Africa’s richest man at the World Economic Forum in Davos on the freedom of movement on the continent:
Dangote said his vision is for the free movement of goods, services and people across the continent. “I need a visa in almost 38 countries, which means an American has more access into Africa than myself.”
Some anecdotes from some of my frustrated mobile Africans on the continent via Twitter:
— Aine (@Ruthaine) January 22, 2014
— Pablo Max (@FlyMax1) January 22, 2014
— Peace (@peacemaso) January 22, 2014
— Aid ranting (@AidRanting) January 22, 2014
This is far from a comprehensive list of Africans frustrated with the inability to move around on our own continent. Probably one of the most embarrassed I’ve ever been (about being an African) applying for a visa was when I was headed to Senegal and had to go ask the French embassy(!!!!!) for permission to travel to Dakar.
As Africans, we have a lot of work to do on our continent. Primary on a 50-years-old to-do list is making sure that we and our goods have better mobility on our continent than outsiders.
It isn’t a call to curtail the movement of foreigners on the continent (especially in the face of the fact that Africans pay a heavy toll to travel OFF the continent as well) – rather that if we are ever to continue or accelerate the current pace of development, we need to classify each other as central to that development and accordingly afforded freedom of movement.
It is a glaring embarrassment to the AU that the continent’s poster boy for what you can accomplish on the continent needs permission to move around his own back yard.