South Africa is set to remove visa requirements for Kenyans looking to travel to the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed.
Speaking after a meeting with Kenya President, Dr. William Ruto, on his visit to the East African country, President Ramaphosa said Kenyans holding ordinary passports would be granted entry to South Africa for a 90-day visit.
“We have discussed the issues of visas between South African and Kenya, with a view to allow Kenyans visit South African on a visa-free basis,” Ramaphosa said from State House, Kenya. “This will officially start on January 1, 2023 and it will be available for Kenyans for a 90-day period per year.”
Ramaphosa also noted that South Africa was no longer in fear of welcoming Kenyans due to what he called ‘undesirable elements’.
“What always held us back was fear. We were afraid that by opening up the doors to Kenyans it will come with undesirable elements that just want to transgress our immigration laws but today we were able to say let us ditch the fear.”
On his part, Kenyan President, William Ruto, welcomed the move, saying that they had also agreed on a return policy when immigration laws and policies were breached.
Previously, Kenyans would be required to pay visa fees after staying for more than 30-days in a visit to South Africa.
The current breakthrough is an extension of talks that Ramaphosa had with retired Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta in 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa. While they held talks of relaxing visa restrictions to Kenyans, it had been on condition that Kenya takes back its citizens illegally in South Africa.
Removal of Trade Barriers
Aside from the visa issue, both Presidents also spoke of eliminating barriers that limited trade between both countries.
“President Ramaphosa and I have also agreed to develop a sustainable mechanism to identify, monitor and resolve non-tariff barriers that limit trade potential between our two countries,” Kenya’s President, Ruto, said.
This move then opens the door for many Kenyan business people who want to do business in South Africa and vice versa, creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs.
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