Tunis/Tunisia — Tunisia was ranked 27th (out of 54) in the Africa Visa Openness Index 2019, according to a report recently published by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
With a score of 0.396 out of 1 (0 being the closure to visa access, and 1 being the opening to visas), Tunisia has lost three places compared to 2018 and is struggling to enter the top 20 of the most visa-friendly countries in Africa.
According to data from the 4th edition of the Africa 2019 Visa Openness Index Report, Tunisia, which offers visa-free access to 21 African countries, is ahead of Algeria and Morocco (47th place) but remains well behind Mauritania, which ranks 10th.
Tunisia has nevertheless managed to gain 9 places compared to 2016, following the efforts made by the government to revitalise the tourism sector, stresses the same source, referring, as such, to the establishment of the new eVisa platform (www.visatunisia.com) to facilitate and modernise the visa issuance process.
In 2019, the countries with the highest visa opening performance are among the most attractive countries in terms of foreign direct investment and enjoy a high growth rate, including in the tourism sector.
With their visa-free policy for all African visitors, Seychelles and Benin remain, according to the report, the top two African countries in terms of visa opening. Ethiopia has increased this year by 32 places, which has allowed it to join the 20 most open countries on the continent.
"Our work on the Visa Openness Index is tracking Africa's progress in the free movement of people. Much remains to be done despite the efforts made. To promote Africa's integration, we must break down the walls! The free movement of people, and in particular labour mobility, is crucial to promote investment," said Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, in a statement issued on Monday by the AfDB.
In this regard, he called on countries to make procedures in this area more flexible, for example by introducing arrival visas, stressing that the abolition of borders will allow Africa to benefit from the advantages of the Continental Free Trade Area, the African Single Market in Air Transport and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons.
The African Visa Openness Index measures the degree of visa openness of African countries by examining their entry requirements for citizens of other African countries. The Index tracks country scores over time, to show countries that are improving their visa policies by promoting greater freedom of movement for people across Africa.