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Kenya to lift visa requirements for all Africans

In a move to facilitate intra-African trade, Kenyan President William Ruto said his country will lift visa requirements for all Africans by the end of 2023.

“The time has come to understand the importance of doing trade between us,” said Ruto, while speaking at the summit of the world’s three major forest basins – Amazon, Congo, and Borneo-Mekong – in Brazzaville.

Ruto noted the low rate of intra-African trade and urged countries to remove or ease barriers to such trade by reducing customs tariffs within the African continent to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“It is time we realise the importance of trading among ourselves and allowing goods, services, people and ideas to move freely across the continent,” he said.

Ruto added that trade among East African Community countries had grown significantly due to the removal of visa requirements and tariffs.

He said that acknowledging and providing incentives to countries in tropical forest basins for forest protection is a smart climate action.

The Amazon basin in South America, the Congo basin in Central Africa, and the Borneo-Mekong basin in Southeast Asia collectively constitute 80% of the world’s rainforests and contain approximately two-thirds of all global biodiversity.

These rainforests are not only vital for their local ecosystems but also play a global role in regulating the planet’s climate and sustaining life on Earth, summit attendees heard.