Visa on arrival offers great opportunities but…

Visa on arrival offers great opportunities but…

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A research fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD)at the University of Ghana, Dr Amanda Coffie says government’s decision to issue visa on arrival to citizens of the African Union (AU), is great but more must be done.

According to her, regulations must be put in place to ensure the security of the state.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Dr Coffie said “Personally I think it is a wonderful opportunity, especially for academics. Sometimes you go for conferences and your colleagues are unable to participate because they did not get visas. You ask yourself this is another African country and you would think that it will be easy for people to travel around.”

“There are opportunities in this but we should not go to bed saying that we have made a great announcement. We are once again taking the lead in this unity for the continent, but we should put in place structures. It comes back to our border management system in this country,” she added.

Ghana is to start issuing visa on arrival to citizens of all 54 AU member countries from July 2016.

President John Mahama disclosed this when he delivered the State of the Nation address last month.

Ghana currently offers visa-free entry for citizens of 15 countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Although countries across Africa are moving to fortify their borders due to the fear of insurgency of militant attacks, Dr Coffie believes that the initiative is a great one and can work if the appropriate measures are put in place.

Dr Coffie also noted that government and various stakeholders must from now until July, prepare adequately towards the project.

“I hope that we will take the opportunity of the time for us to prepare towards it because it is one thing saying we are doing it and people arrive at the point of entry and be further frustrated.”

She said the initiative is a bold one as Ghana moves to be part of the liberal entry system and will provide a great opportunity for business and tourism, “it is good for business and good for Africa.”

SOURCE: myjoyonline 15-03-2016

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