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African Passport Launched at Kigali AU Summit

Sunday, 17th July 2016
The African Union Chairman and President of Chad Idriss Deby (R) as well as the summit host president Paul Kagame.

The long-awaited Pan-African passport was launched, on Sunday, at the opening ceremony of the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, handed two representational African passports to President Paul Kagame, and to the Chairperson of the African Union, President Idriss Deby of Chad.

The move to launch the African passport was reached during the Summit in January this year, with the AU deciding that the passport would be launched in Kigali, starting with Heads of State and Government, with Foreign Ministers, the leadership of the Representatives of the AU Executive Councils and Organs.

Speaking after receiving his own, President Deby termed this as a great milestone and a start of greater achievements on the continent. He also called upon fellow leaders to ensure its easy operationalization.

According to the AU Deputy Chairman Erastus Mwencha, the plan is to issue the passport to all eligible Africans in the next three years.

Mwencha says the primary target of the new passport is enhancing inter-trade between the African nations and harnessing the continent¡¯s demographic dividends.

Currently, all African countries with their national passports require visas to visit more than 60% of the countries on the continent.

According to Mt Mwencha, the passports will be issued from both the African Union Commission and from member states, which implies that member states will cross check from their own records to determine the people most qualified for the passport.