Kenyan President William Ruto said on Saturday that Kenya will lift visa requirements for all Africans by the end of 2023 with the aim of boosting trade with African countries.
“By the end of this year, no African will need a visa to enter Kenya. 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, namely the Amazon, Congo, and Borneo-Mekong Forest Basins, in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo.
Ruto noted the low rate of intra-African trade and urged to reduce customs tariffs within the African continent to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“It is time we realize the importance of trading among ourselves and allowing goods, services, people and ideas to move freely across the continent,” he said, adding that trade among East African Community countries had grown significantly due to the removal of visa requirements and tariffs.
Ruto 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 percent of the world’s rainforests and contain approximately two-thirds of its 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.