African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has called for a borderless Africa to allow free movement by the continent’s people, something she says would boost tourism and trade within Africa.
She said the commission is in the process of developing a comprehensive protocol of free movement that she hoped would be signed by 2018.
Dlamini-Zuma, who held Cabinet portfolios of Health, Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs in the democratic government and served under all the three post-1994 presidents, is hoping for many African countries to adopt this system.
In her AU State of the Continent Address in Durban on Monday, Dlamini-Zuma said the experiment of collapsing the borders eased trade and movement.
The address is her last as she is expected to vacate the position before she contests the ANC presidency against deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa towards the end of next year.
She was the first woman to be elected to chair the AU Commission, which is hoping to continue the trend with another female when she leaves.
Dlamini-Zuma cited Rwanda as one country that, after pioneering open borders, experienced massive growth in tourism.
She said the opening of borders has more advantages than disadvantages. “If people are free to move they come in and leave. If they know they can’t come back at their will, they end up staying.”