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Exploring The Convenience Of e-Visa Facilities In Africa

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

An African holding his passport

As you may already be familiar with, aside financing your itinerary and buying your ticket, the hardest part of travelling is usually the visa acquisition stage. Traditional visa processing discourages many from traveling to some nations as bureaucracy and stress mar the process. Whereas a missing passport may be the least of your worries, you could miss the opportunity to travel entirely.

Thankfully, in this digital age where travel can be sporadic, utterly unplanned, or even frequent, the introduction of the e-Visa system has revolutionized the travel and tour industry. Africa is no exception.

The introduction of the e-Visa was a much-needed step especially given that the continent is increasing becoming a place of many interests: from diverse rich cultures, to intriguing histories, to fascinating adventures, and, endless beauties.

In this article, we seek to explore the progress of the continent since the introduction of e-Visa facilities and the the inception of the Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI).

What is the e-Visa?

Packed luggage with a passport and a camera in display

An electronic visa (e-Visa) is a paperless authorization granted a visitor by their host country specifying the duration, purpose, and conditions of stay. This gives travelers the luxury of applying for a visa from the comfort of their homes, offices or locations. All one needs to do is locate the website of their prospective host country - thus if they have e-visa facilities - and submit all relevant documents online and follow the necessary processes where and when required.

Nine African nations commenced the use of the e-Visa facilities in 2016. Two prior patrons: Cabo Verde and Guinea Bissau, as at the release of the 2022 AVOI report had inaccessible portals. However, numbers grew steadily over the years and currently tolls at 24. Thus, despite the few setbacks, the continent seems to be steadfast in embracing the e-Visa system.

The e-Visa aside facilitating ease is long overdue given the global digital awareness created by the covid-19 pandemic.

The e-Visa thus affords visitors of the continent utter ease in acquiring a visa. No more long queues, to-and-fros, junk papers and disappointments.

Below is a list of African nations that have e-Visa facilities currently operational. Is about time you applied online in advance for a visa to that African nation in this list that you’ve always wanted to visit yet, the bureaucracies prevented you:

1. Benin

2. Cabo Verde

3. Rwanda

4. Nigeria

5. Djibouti

6. Tanzania

7. Ethiopia

8. Madagascar

9. Malawi

10. Sierra Leone

11. Cote d’Ivoire

12. Zimbabwe

13. Zambia

14. Uganda

15. Kenya

16. Guinea

17. South Africa

18. Lesotho

19. Gabon

20. Sao Tome and Principe

21. Angola

22. Morocco

23. Egypt

24. Cameroon

What Is The AVOI?

TWo beautiful east Africans searching a destination on a map

Introduced by the African Development Bank Group and the African Union Commission, the Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI) measures the ease with which a traveler obtains a visa when travelling to another African nation. The index varies depending on which African country one is coming from and to which African country one is set to.

This index was first introduced in 2016 and has since released annual reports tracking the improvements/decline in performance of all fifty-four African nations.

With an ever-growing economic landscape and fast expanding tourism sector, a border-less Africa is one that is preached for by many and demanded by lots. Intra-Africa travel is widening and much called for in this era of escalating trade and expanding markets.

"We need to break down all barriers that impede the free

movement of people across the continent, especially that

of workers. This is vital for promoting investment."

Akinwunmi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank Group.

The introduction of the openness index thus helps track the process made in such respects and helps influence regional and continental policy making.

For the purpose of this article, here are the top twenty performing nations in the continent as per the AVOI 2022 report.

The scores of the respective countries can be interpreted in three categories:

0 (visa required before travel)

0.8 (visa on arrival)

1 (No visa required)

A chart showing the top twenty open nations to travelers in Africa
AVOI Top 20 Performers

For a more visual understanding of the top twenty open nations to visitors from the continent, find below a mapped illustration:

An illustrated African map showing the AVOI's top 20 performers

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