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I can't travel across Africa unless I've 35 visas; it's unfair - Dangote cries

Africa's wealthiest individual, Aliko Dangote, has voiced his frustration over the stringent visa requirements hindering intra-African travel.

I can't travel across Africa unless I've 35 visas; it's unfair - Dangote cries

The CEO and Chairman of Dangote Group highlighted the bureaucratic challenges he faces, which demand him to obtain 35 different visas for business travel across the continent.

Dangote, known for his extensive investments across Africa, expressed his grievances during a session during the Africa CEO Forum held in Kigali.

"As an investor, as somebody who really wants to make Africa great, I have to now apply for 35 different visas on my passport, and I told Mr President that I really don't have the time to go and be dropping my passport at embassies to get a visa," he stated.

He emphasised the disparity in treatment between African nationals and foreigners, pointing out that foreign businesspeople often have easier access. "I can assure you Patrick [Pouyanné, CEO of Total Energies] doesn't need 35 visas... You don't need 35 visas on a French passport, which means you have free movement than myself in Africa," Dangote added, highlighting the bias in the visa system that favours non-Africans over Africans.

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The Africa CEO Forum is a key event that brings together African leaders, international investors, and institutions to foster business development through the exchange of ideas and experiences. Despite its aim to streamline business operations across the continent, visa restrictions remain a significant barrier.

Currently, only five African countries—Seychelles, Gambia, Benin, Kenya, and Rwanda—offer unrestricted access to travellers from other African nations. Ghana recently joined this list, marking a small but significant step towards greater intra-African mobility.

Dangote's remarks underscore the need for more African countries to adopt policies that facilitate easier travel for business purposes, which could significantly enhance economic growth and regional integration. As Africa continues to seek increased investment and development, addressing these visa challenges remains a critical issue for policymakers.

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