President Uhuru Kenyatta today announced that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa on arrival.
The President made the announcement shortly after he took the oath of office for his second term in office.
The move is in line with President Kenyatta’s Pan-Africanist vision and to prove Kenya’s commitment the directive will be implemented without a demand for reciprocity from other nations.
“Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry,” said the President when he spoke shortly after being sworn in at the Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi.
The President said the directive will boost trade and security; increase appreciation for African diversity and reduce negative politics on the continent.
“For my fellow Africans, the free movement of people on our continent has always been a cornerstone of Pan-African brotherhood and fraternity. The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity, we will become,” said the President.
He said embracing African brotherhood will act as a counter against the political balkanization that risks Africa’s mutual security and the negative politics of identity.
The President also said that citizens of countries in the East African Community will be treated like Kenyans when they visit the country.
He said individuals from within the EAC will need only their identity cards to work, do business, own property and farm in Kenya.
The President said Kenya was making the commitment without a demand for reciprocity from other EAC nations.
“I will work with you, my brothers, the leaders of the East African Community, to bring a renewed energy and optimism to our union. Together, we can deliver the peace and prosperity for which our citizens are crying out; divided, we will struggle to realise the full potential of our people,” said the President.
The President thanked Kenya’s friends in the International community for standing with the country during its times of need and in its pursuit for growth.
“Kenya is a proud member of the community of nations, and we will always work hard to remain a force for good. We will continue to strengthen our economic ties and bilateral and multilateral relations,” said President Kenyatta.
The President said Kenya will continue playing its role in the fight against international terrorism, to share knowledge, and to support its allies.
“We have learned that in the fight against international terrorism, free and democratic nations are allies against a common enemy….As we have for half a century, we will work for peace in our region, for that is what a good neighbour does,” said the President.
The ceremony was attended by thousands of Kenyans as well as 47 international delegations including several Heads of State and Government.
After the official inauguration ceremony, the visiting leaders and other dignitaries attended a State Luncheon at State House, Nairobi.
Before the luncheon, the President held one-on-one talks with the visiting Heads of State and Government including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.