KIGALI (HAN) May 13.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. By JOINT REPORT. Economists call for visa-free travel in Africa.

Economic experts at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Kigali have called on African countries to abolish visa requirements in order to facilitate increased trade and talent movement within the continent.

“As we look at the impact of the decline in global commodity prices in Africa, we have to look at regional markets. I believe ease of travel within Africa will reduce the susceptibility to these shocks. Africa needs a bigger-sized market; this can’t be fully achieved with the current mobility challenges” Akinwumi Adesina, the president of African Development Bank (AfDB).

“We need to drive a continent free visa access policy to eliminate challenges associated with visa access and promote talent movement across the bloc,” he said.

Experts pointed out that the pressure to expand opportunities for Africa’s growing population has placed skills high on the continent’s growth agenda, making free movement of talent critical to empower Africans to make study or job choices that impact on their incomes.

“A more regionally integrated Africa will lead to more growth, the fact that it takes so long in Africa is an ancient regime that needs to change” said Dominic Barton, the global managing director at McKinsey.

Moses K Gahigi

PPPs seen to address healthcare challenges but governments cautioned

Lack of suitable logistics, proper data analysis, and appropriate technology has been cited as impediments to access to and quality health care in Africa.

Health sector players at the World Economic Forum in Kigali called for more public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a means to address these concerns.

“We rely heavily on partnerships and that’s why we have been successful in Rwanda. The challenges today need different actors to provide information, technology, and innovation,” said global public affairs president at UPS, Laura Lane. UPS in partnership with Zipline International, inked a deal with the Kigali government to deliver medicines and blood to patients in Rwanda using drones.

However, Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima has warned African governments against rushing into PPPs, accusing private investors especially pharmaceuticals of vested interests.

“We are continuing with a war on corporate multinational companies and especially pharmaceuticals that put profit interests in front of saving lives. They cannot justify the costs of research but use it as an excuse to hike prices for medicine” she said at a pre-WEF event.

Daniel S. Ntwari


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