Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, says that the continent has a travel problem. And he should know. He has businesses and investments all across the continent, yet, according to him, he needs 38 visas to travel.
The billionaire businessman said in an interview with CNBC Africa that African leaders need to quickly take steps to address the difficulties related to intra-Africa travel.
“Our leaders must give incentives. For example, little things like visa issuance. You go to a country that is looking for investment, that particular country will give you a run around just to get a visa,” he said.
“You have to know somebody who is big in that country to call somebody. They are giving you visas as if it is a favour.
Dangote decried the fact that even the proposed African passport is being resisted by some African leaders.
“Even countries like Rwanda and co, that say no visas for Africans, they are still having problems getting visas into other African countries, despite saying no need for visas for Africans coming in. They say, just come, we would give you on arrival,” he said.
Nigeria is one of the countries in which visa issuance can be a long and tedious process. It is in realisation of this fact that the Economic Management Team in the presidency is reportedly pushing for Nigeria’s consular offices to make visas available within 48 hours and allow visitors who intend to pick up visas on arrival to be able to do so. The reform is believed to be part of an Emergency Powers bill that has been prepared and would be tabled before the national assembly when they resume plenary after a two-month recess.