The latest joint report by the African Development Board and the African Union Commission has ranked Rwanda the third most open country to African nationals.
Dubbed the Visa Openness Index, the report assesses the progress African countries have made in relaxing their visa regimes towards holders of passports from African Union member states.
Basically, analysis goes into the visa requirements set by each member state of the African Union for other member states seeking to enter their borders.
The Visa Openness Index noted that Rwanda continues to move up the ranking, having improved access for nine countries on the continent in the last year.
The report also observed that Rwanda has served as a model for countries seeking to open up their borders and liberalizing movement citing the case of Ethiopia and Benin.
“Africans enjoy liberal access to Rwanda, with no visa required for 15 countries and visa on arrival for 38 countries. A top 10 performer on the Index since 2016, the country’s open visa policy has inspired countries Africa-wide, including Benin, and soon Ethiopia, to liberalise their visa regimes,” the report reads in part.
Liberalizing movement into Rwanda, the index said has among other things promoted the country as a conference destination as well as contribution of tourism to GDP.
Between 2013 and 2016, the number of Africans receiving visas on arrival in Rwanda increased by more than 100 per cent, says the report.
“The country attracted higher numbers of visitors, greater investment, and hosted more conferences due to the removal of travel restrictions. Total travel and tourism contributed 12.7 per cent to Rwanda’s GDP in 2017 and is forecast to rise by 6.8 per cent in 2018, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council Economic Impact 2018 report,” it reads.
The new report comes barely weeks after the Gallup Poll, which ranked Rwanda the third most welcoming country for migrants worldwide, behind Iceland and New Zealand.
According to figures from Rwanda Development Board, over the last decade, the number of MICE delegates visiting Rwanda jumped from 15,000 in 2008 to 28,300 in 2017 and earned Rwanda $42m in 2017.