Kenya and South Africa have agreed to a reciprocal visa-free entry deal which will be rolled out from January next year. Applicants will get a maximum of 90 days annually.
Currently, Kenyan nationals pay up to $40 (£35) and have to show proof of “sufficient” funds as well as wait an average of three weeks for a 90-day South African visa.
Only travellers staying less than 30 days enjoyed a free pass, but that too attracted a processing fee of about $40.
In contrast, South Africans do not require pre-departure visas to travel to Kenya.The new visa-free regime was announced after talks between President William Ruto and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in Nairobi.
“I express appreciation on the progress that we have made in the long awaited visa-free regime,” said President Ruto.The two heads of state also agreed on a return policy in cases where immigration laws are breached. Visa restrictions have been a thorny issue for the two countries for years.
The two leaders also backed a plan agreed last year to unveil a Pan- African airline between Kenya Airways and South African Airways.”We both occupy strategic points on the continent and there is a great need for a strategic partnership to be struck,” President Ramaphosa said.
But no details have been revealed yet on the deal between the two airlines considered some of the most unprofitable and heavily dependent on government bailout currently.