President John Dramani Mahama
Controversy has followed the pronouncement of Ghanaian president, John Dramani Mahama, who in an address marking the 59th independence anniversary of Ghana, said that Nigerians as well as other member countries of the African Union (AU) must obtain visas to gain entry into Ghana beginning from the month of July, 2016.
The President said that, starting next July citizens of the other 53 Member States of the African Union (AU) can “obtain visas on arrival (in Ghana) with the option of staying for up to 30 days.”
“In spite of its imperfections, the implementation of this protocol is a major stride towards regional integration and makes ECOWAS the only Regional Economic Community (REC) with a free-visa regime”, he stated.
While some sociopolitical analysts avers that the pronouncement did not come as a surprise, some others have argued that it is a step in the wrong direction as this
would in some way impede upon the fundamental goal of the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), which is primarily the unity of the states that make up the Western African sub-region, to be achieved by free Movement of persons, goods and services, rights to Establishment and Residence, which guarantees community citizens, a free-visa entry and stay in countries other than their own for 90 days at first instance.
However, some commentators, suggest that the new Ghanaian visa-on-arrival plan stems from their economic and political stability and an economy which is fast emerging as a digital-based mixed economy hybrid, similarly to that of Taiwan with an increasing primary manufacturing and exportation of digital technology goods along with assembling and exportation of automobiles and ships, diverse resource rich exportation of industrial minerals, agricultural products primarily cocoa, petroleum as well as natural gas.
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