Ghana changes visa policy for Africans

Ghana President John Mahama

Arrival visa will be issued to all the 54 African Union (AU) citizens visiting Ghana according to president John Dramani Mahama of Ghana. He announced this during the annual celebration of Ghana’s independence day in Accra on March 6, 2016, saying that the new policy will be operational from July 2016.

Ghana presently allows free entry only for the citizens of 15 countries from the Economic Community of West African States.

Ghana visa policy benefits

Although the president didn’t specify if the new regulations apply to business visas as well, the new visa policy marked an important step for African residents, as opening the borders to other African nations could play a crucial role for Ghana’s and Africa’s tourism industry.

According to an African Development Bank data, only a quarter of the continent’s countries offer visas on arrival to other nationals of African nations with the exception of Seychelles, which has an open access visa policy. African countries have restricted visa policies that make it difficult for African tourists to travel within the continent.

President Dramani during his independence day address encouraged Ghanaians to learn the French language in order to develop easier relationships with natives and visitors from Francophone neighbor-countries surrounding Ghana like Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Togo.

This latest measure is considered to be highly beneficial to Ghana’s economy, as the travel and tourism industry accounts for some 5.9% of Ghana’s GDP growth. Ghana is the first sub-Saharan country to attain independence from British colonial rule on March 6, 1957.

In 2011, Forbes Magazine published that Ghana was ranked the eleventh most friendly country in the world. The assertion was based on a survey in 2010 of a cross-section of travelers. Of all the African countries that were included in the survey, Ghana ranked highest. Ghana ranks as the seventieth−most stable country in the world and Ghana ranks as the 58th–most peaceful country in the world.

Tourism in Ghana is regulated by the Ministry of Tourism of Ghana, the Government of Ghana ministry responsible for the development and promotion of tourism-related activities in Ghana.

Source: TravelWires

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