I have a colleague from Cameroon. He’s a personable guy with high spirits. He’s fun to be around and gets things done. I’ve worked with him on two small initiatives. You can count on him.
At the beginning of this year, he needed to make a work trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. And so, began (or is it begun?) the complicated process of travelling within our own continent.
He needed to have letters and documents and assurances. He’d have to send his passport to the Embassy of DRC in Berlin. He’d pay a visa application fee of over 100 Euros. He’d then wait for days for feedback.
It isn’t just DRC that does this. All our countries have their own restrictions on us Africans travelling within our continent. We all face the same travel challenges.
Why is it a complex matter for Africans to travel within their continent?
Why are our systems so limiting?
Why is it expensive and difficult to get clearance to go to any part of our continent?
Why do we have to go through a steeplechase before we can explore Africa?
Why is it easier for me to travel within the EU as an African than it is within the AU?
Something’s wrong. Maybe we are selfish. Do we imagine putting those blocks to travel is a way of protecting our borders from “intruders”? Intruders? Who are these intruders? We are all Africans.
Probably the divide and rule tactic that the colonialists used still subconsciously plays a part in the administration of our countries. Did the slicing and dicing of our continent contribute to making us think along the lines of everyone for themselves and God for us all?
Why does it have to be that only those with a certain level of financial muscle in our countries can have the experience of enjoying the gift of travel?
There has got to be a way of making things easier for us all.