Common visa for West Africa mooted at ITB Berlin

Common visa for West Africa mooted at ITB Berlin

The Economic and Monetary Association of West African States (UEMOA) has been outlining plans for a common single visa for all visitors from outside the region in order to boost tourism.

The proposal was adopted in 2005, the first step being the recognition by each of the eight members of any national visa delivered to a citizen outside the UEMOA region.

These states include Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Togo.

Each is now preparing for the second phase of the project, which is due to come into force by October this year, when a single visa delivered to any non-UEMOA citizen will be valid in the eight member countries.

Two studies have been commissioned to analyze the financial implications of this measure: some countries (such as Senegal) do not require a visa from most travellers, while others (such as Mali) receive a large share of their revenues from visa fees.

Harmonisation will therefore be necessary before any further move. About 1.3 million tourists visited UEMOA member country in 2008.