AU to un­veil single African pass­port de­sign

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Natasha Chamba

THE African Union (AU) will this year un­veil the de­sign for a single pass­port for all Africans which is aimed at pro­mot­ing in­tra-Africa trade.

In a state­ment AU com­mis­sion chair­per­son, Mr Moussa Faki Ma­hamat said at the up­com­ing 32nd edi­tion sum­mit of the AU, the com­mis­sion will present guide­lines on the de­sign of the African pass­port.

“I am pleased to stress that, in Fe­bru­ary 2019, in Ad­dis Ababa, at the 32nd Sum­mit of our union, the com­mis­sion will present, for adop­tion, guide­lines on the de­sign, pro­duc­tion and is­suance of the African pass­port, the ma­te­ri­al­i­sa­tion of which will take us one step closer to the long-held dream of com­plete free move­ment across the con­ti­nent,” he said.

Mr Ma­hamat said the uni­fied pass­port was aimed at spurring eco­nomic growth within the con­ti­nent by pro­mot­ing in­tra-Africa trade, and even­tu­ally cre­at­ing a “con­ti­nent with seam­less bor­ders.”

The uni­fied visa was first in­tro­duced in 2016, while the African pass­port was still ex­clu­sive to heads of States and other diplo­mats.

Im­mi­gra­tion ex­perts from mem­ber states met in July last year in Nairobi, Kenya to de­lib­er­ate on the doc­u­ment’s tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions, se­cu­rity fea­tures and how best to un­roll it across the con­ti­nent.

Scep­tics have of­ten pointed out that the move would be chal­leng­ing, with many African states al­ready re­sis­tant to mi­grants and refugees.

Against this back­ground, some coun­tries were silently tight­en­ing their visa rules.

Mr Ma­hamat said the AU will push for more in­te­gra­tion.

“The AU will remain res­o­lute in the fight against xeno­pho­bia and racism, which are man­i­fest in mi­gra­tion poli­cies in some parts of the world and whose rise is one of the facets of uni­lat­er­al­ism.

“In this re­gard, the AU reaf­firms its full sup­port for the Global Com­pact on Mi­gra­tion agreed to in Mar­rakesh, Morocco, this month and the per­sist­ing ob­sta­cles to our cit­i­zens’ move­ment within their own con­ti­nent are sim­ply un­ac­cept­able,” he said.

The com­mis­sion’s chair­per­son said Africa has de­vel­oped a roadmap for Agenda 2063 that clearly ar­tic­u­lates the path for­ward for its emer­gence while 2019 of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to break the mul­ti­ple chains that hin­der the ac­tu­al­i­sa­tion of the con­ti­nent’s rich po­ten­tial.

The an­nounce­ment comes hard on the heels of the AU’s launch of a single air mar­ket ini­tia­tive to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity and a free trade agree­ment to es­tab­lish a com­mon mar­ket for goods and ser­vices. — @queen­tau­ruszw

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