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Why the AU's visa-free African Passport won't work

8 July 2016 7:52 AM

The passport will grant visa-free access to the 54 AU member states such as SA, Egypt, Angola, Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria.

The African Union has announced plans to launch an electronic African Passport in July, giving holders visa-free access to all 54 AU member states.

This is in a bid to boost free movement on the continent, intra-African trade and development.

The AU says it plans to distribute the passports to all African citizens by 2018, but immigration lawyer Craig Smith does not see this happening practically.

According to Smith, the global trend is for countries to increase border security and tighten immigration laws.

He says the AU member states would have to revise their immigration legislation and face potential security threats like terrorism.

The general policy move among most countries is that national sovereignty trumps individual rights such as freedom of movement.

Craig Smith, immigration lawyer

He says the passport will most likely benefit African leaders and the business elite, not the average "man in the street."

It's a commendable vision to have... the question is, are we at a point of readiness to accommodate this?

Craig Smith, immigration lawyer

Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

8 July 2016 7:52 AM

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