Dangote Laments Visa Requirements, a Hindrance to Africans’ Continental Movement

Even for Africa’s wealthiest man, Aliko Dangote, traveling within his continent poses significant challenges. Despite doing business across multiple African countries, the Nigerian-born billionaire laments facing far more hurdles crossing borders than visitors from Europe with their passports.

“As an investor aiming to uplift Africa, I have to apply for 35 different visas on my passport,” Dangote told the recent Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, drawing laughter from the audience as he admitted not having time to drop off his passport at embassies repeatedly for visas.

The 67-year-old entrepreneur’s visa struggles have reignited a firestorm over Africans’ frustrations when traveling within the continent. It’s even more infuriating for many that European passports from former colonial powers have greater visa-free access in Africa than many African passports. Dangote powerfully highlighted this point in Kigali, turning to a French executive beside him and deadpanning that the French passport allows freer movement in Africa than his own.

While commending Rwanda for eliminating visas for all Africans in 2023, joined by Benin, The Gambia, and Seychelles offering visa-free access, Dangote noted that many African countries still require visas from other Africans. The experience is fraught with discrimination, hostility, and exorbitant fees for intra-Africa travel on African passports.