Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced this week that from January next year citizens of other African countries would not need to apply for visas before visiting Nigeria. Buhari said all holders of African passports would be granted visas on arrival when travelling to his country. He was speaking at the inaugural Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Egypt. This is the same meeting that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had to leave in order to deal with the energy crisis back in this country.

Currently most Africans, except those from some West African countries, need to apply for a visa in advance. In addition, Nigeria requires pre-approved visas from all non-African countries. It is not clear if this will also change in 2020.

Despite Nigeria’s supposed new openness to outsiders, the country’s land borders have been closed since August, according to the BBC. This has made it very difficult for Nigeria’s neighbours to trade with it, and tarnishes Buhari’s credentials as a supposed pan-Africanist.

In general, African countries make it hard for visitors from other countries on the continent. According to the BBC, the Seychelles is the only African country that gives all Africans visa-free access. In the same report, to illustrate the problems with intra-African travel, the BBC said that Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian and one of the world’s richest men, needed visas for nearly 40 of Africa’s over 50 countries.

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