Home » Ghana and South Africa to Enjoy Visa-Free Travel from November

Ghana and South Africa to Enjoy Visa-Free Travel from November

The agreement will allow holders of ordinary passports to visit each other’s territory for up to 90 days per year

by Motoni Olodun

Ghanaian and South African citizens will soon be able to travel between the two countries without a visa, according to a joint announcement by the governments of both nations. The visa waiver agreement, which will take effect from November 1, 2023, will allow holders of ordinary passports to visit each other’s territory for up to 90 days per year for tourism, business, or family purposes. However, the waiver permits no employment or income-generating activity during the stay.

The agreement results from bilateral talks between the two countries, which have been working to strengthen their diplomatic and economic ties. Ghana and South Africa have a long history of cooperation, dating back to the anti-apartheid struggle and the liberation movements in both countries. They also share common interests and values in regional and global affairs, such as peace and security, democracy and human rights, and sustainable development.

The visa waiver is expected to boost trade and investment between the two countries, which have grown steadily in recent years. According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), bilateral trade between Ghana and South Africa increased from $4 billion in 2014 to $14 billion in 2019. South Africa is Ghana’s seventh-largest export destination, mainly for crude oil, while Ghana is its 44th-largest export destination, mainly for machinery and vehicles.

The visa waiver is also expected to increase tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries with rich and diverse tourist attractions. Ghana is known for its historical sites, such as the slave castles and forts along the coast, its natural beauty, such as the Kakum National Park and Lake Volta, and its vibrant culture, such as the kente cloth and the pan-African festivals. South Africa is known for its wildlife and nature reserves, such as the Kruger National Park and Table Mountain, its cosmopolitan cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, and its multicultural heritage, such as the Zulu and Xhosa traditions.

The visa waiver agreement is a welcome development for travelers who have faced challenges and delays in obtaining visas in the past. Ernest Apraku, a Ghanaian who traveled to South Africa for holidays last year, told BBC Pidgin that he had to wait two months for his visa. He said he was happy he would not have to go through that process again. Jubulani Sithole, a South African who visited Ghana last month, told Modern Ghana that he spent over $1,500 for his ticket and visa. He said he was glad that he would save that money in the future.

The visa waiver agreement is part of a broader effort by both countries to facilitate mobility and integration within Africa. Ghana and South Africa are members of the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aim to promote unity and cooperation among African countries. The AU has also launched the African passport initiative, which seeks to grant visa-free access to all African citizens within the continent by 2028.

The visa waiver agreement signifies friendship and solidarity between Ghana and South Africa, which have overcome colonialism and oppression to achieve freedom and democracy. It also represents their vision and commitment to building a prosperous and peaceful Africa.

Source: GhanaWeb

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