After many years of lull, the African Union has once again come out with something ‘different’ from its norm- AU Passport.
With the AU Passport, the pan-African organisation said it is planning to improve the unity of African countries by fostering movement of people and trade.
As part of the out-going Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma achievements, the AU will be offering the passport to government officials of all AU member countries. That is another snag for the AU Passport, the commission has not really given much detail about how the passport will be used.
The idea to first offer it to government officials is a sign that the passport might become another relic for government workers and identity cards for AU staff.
Jokes apart, AU needs an instrument that can aid movement of people and trade but it needs to be done the right way. If it is just for government officials and AU staff, it should be stated clearly. If it is for the bigger picture, then more seriousness should be put into it.
However, perhaps the AU needs some time to roll it out and it will be for the generality of AU countries, then, the AU has so many loose ends to tighten up. First is, how many African countries already have Visa-free arrangements among themselves? How many countries are willing to use the passport as an instrument to make this possible?
It is becoming easier for an African from an AU member country to take a trip from Lagos to London than for s/he to move from Lagos to Johannesburg. African countries are ‘playing ostrich’ basking in the tokenism of what AU offers its own citizens.
For the AU to be taken seriously, the organisation must quit rhetoric, rally African countries to see how they can all leverage the population strength to benefit one another. Otherwise, coming up with a passport will just be a ‘me too’ copycat of the European Union, EU.
An organisation that cannot fund itself should be told to look inwards and do the right thing first before trying to be ‘globally-correct’.
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