Yesterday at Alize, Jörg and Munit were performing. As usual, Munit was an amazing entertainer. I am not here to write about last night’s acoustic soul, but about one of the songs which caught my attention. She wrote it for African liberty day that she was imagining having a highway which connects all African countries, without restricted boarders and visa bureaucracies.
When celebrating the African Union Day as Time to Let People and Goods Cross Borders. It seems that tragic stories follow up.
I have been thinking how African governments are failed on important cooperation to one another. The African boarders seem more open for non-African citizens than Africans themselves. In the matter of fact, the only African country, Kenya, is one of the two countries you can enter without a visa while having an Ethiopian passport (Yemen is the other country, and recently you can obtain on-arrival visa to Thailand. Ethiopians can enter to Somali-land without a visa – Thanks, Maike for the correction!).
A friend of mine, she was requesting a tourist visa to Djibouti – the closest county from all. The Djibouti embassy in Ethiopia told her the most shocking news. They don’t issue a tourist visa for Ethiopian women. This is serious, and extremely discriminative. What kind of a failed foreign relationship Ethiopia has with Djibouti that men can get visa and women do not? Take my word, this is official.
African Borders: From Barriers to Bridges from Zeresenay Berhane Mehari on Vimeo.
African boarders are closed for Africans. The economic advantage of developed countries makes these foreign affair concerns easier for them. But this is fairly political. It is easier for Filipinos to request a visa to Ethiopia than the Malawian passport holders.
No question, Africans need better relationship among themselves. And opening the boarder is the first step.
With the immense economical boost which has been recording recently in Africa, it is wise to appreciate free movements throughout the continent – which will motivate African tourists, business owners, experts and artists to focus on Africa itself rather than crowding other continents’ embassies.
It is even late, but “Time to Let People and Goods Cross African Borders”