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Visa rejections ‘show bias towards Africa’

Source: SA people news, 10/05/2024

The Henley Passport Power Index recently showed the significant limitations African citizens face for international travel and economic mobility because of their passports.

These limitiations include lengthy visa applications, possible rejections, and long passport control queues.

Only Mauritius and Seychelles passports allow holders to access over 50% of global GDP without needing to obtain a visa.

This is despite Africa being home to some of the most visa-open nations when welcoming visitors from abroad

Henley & Partners’ latest Africa Wealth Report has highlighted how this ‘exclusion’ is denying Africans from international business opportunities.

“Your passport serves as a determinant of financial freedom, impacting individuals’ abilities to explore international business ventures, network efficiently, or engage in multi-national trade opportunities,” said Chidinma Okebalama, Senior Consultant at Henley & Partners Nigeria.”

“Consequently, African entrepreneurs and investors are often left out of lucrative global markets, impeding their potential for economic growth and financial prosperity.”

Meanwhile, Professor Mehari Taddele Maru at the School of Transnational Governance said African visa applicants face a disproportionately higher rejection rate compared to other regions, particularly for Schengen visas.

Commenting on the 2024 Africa Wealth Report, he said: “Africa tops the list of rejections with one in three of all processed applications being turned down, even though it had the lowest number of visa applications per capita.”

“Despite justifications based on security or economic concerns, the European visa system clearly demonstrates apparent bias against African applicants.”

Seven of the top 10 countries with the highest rate of visa rejections were African nations. Image: Henley & Partners/ Africa Wealth Report

Maru also noted that access to Schengen visas is closely tied to the economic and passport power of the applicant’s country of origin.

“Many African countries have low ranking gross national income per capita, and also rank low on the Henley Passport Index,” he added.

“A lower ranking correlates with a high level of rejection for Schengen visa applicants.”

South Africa Immigration Company