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Zimbabwe climbed six places up to position 21 out of 54 countries in 2016 on the African Visa Openness Index (AVOI) measured by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The AVOI measures how open countries are when it comes to their visa regimes by looking at whether they allow citizens of other countries to enter without a visa, get a visa on arrival or if visitors need to get a visa before travel.

According to the 2017 AVOI, Zimbabwe scored a maximum 0.433 points out of a possible 1.0 that is considered to be the best, news agency New Ziana reported Tuesday.

The index showed that Zimbabwe does not require visas from citizens of 17 countries, mainly from Southern Africa while citizens from eight countries require visa on arrival.

Citizens from 29 countries have to acquire visa in their home countries before travelling to Zimbabwe.

Countries use visa regimes for various reasons including as security measure to control the entry and duration, to limit a visitor’s activities and to generate revenue.

To some extent, countries use visas to reciprocate or match the treatment their own citizens get when they visit another countries.

According to the 2017 AVOI, Seychelles that has scrapped visa requirements for all African countries was at pole position with a score of one, followed by Uganda, Togo, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde.

The bottom five consist of Sudan, Angola, Libya with Equatorial Guinea and Western Sahara tied on number 54.

The AfDB said it was looking at ways to further improve the rankings.

“In future editions, the report will look at how countries are facilitating visa openness by cutting time, reducing costs or simplifying the visa process as well as how far a visitor’s experience on the ground matches up to the agreements or visa policies in place on paper,” said the AfDB.

The African Union is pushing towards greater openness to spur economic growth in the continent.

In this vein, the AU in 2016 launched an African passport that is eventually expected to allow citizens to traverse the whole continent freely. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh