Nigerians can visit 46 visa-free destinations, which comprise 20% of the global destinations but contribute to only about 2% of the global GDP. When seen in this light, even Africa’s wealthiest nations have limited passport power, resulting in low economic mobility, according to the African Wealth report 2023, by Henley & Partners.
Visa-free access to global markets can be a game changer for African economic mobility, providing various options and benefits that can transform the continent’s economic landscape. The importance of free access to foreign markets cannot be emphasized as African nations seek for progress and wealth.
Director of Economic Research and Statistics at the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Institute, Dr. Areef Suleman, reported, “When it comes to visa-free access to global economic output, the citizens of African countries and other developing nations with sizable and growing private wealth are at a distinct disadvantage. More than just a travel document, our passports can define our financial freedoms regarding access to international investment and business opportunities.”
Here 5 reasons why visa-free access to global markets can boost for African economic mobility
Access to Larger Markets
Visa-free access to global markets empowers African businesses to scale their operations and expand their reach. Larger markets offer a wealth of new opportunities and potential customers. This can result in increased profits, business growth, and the creation of more jobs. When African businesses can access larger markets without the hindrance of visas, it fosters economic expansion and prosperity.
Access to a Larger Cross-Country Workforce
Visa-free access facilitates the recruitment of talent from around the world. African businesses can tap into a more diverse and extensive labor pool, which is especially valuable for filling skill gaps and accessing specialized expertise. This broader talent pool can lead to enhanced innovation, competitiveness, and overall growth for companies and industries in Africa.
Access to a More Stable Infrastructure
Visa-free access to larger economies often goes hand-in-hand with access to more stable infrastructure, including well-developed roads, airports, and telecommunications networks. This infrastructure is essential for business operations, enabling companies to transport goods, connect with customers, and streamline their processes. Improved infrastructure enhances operational efficiency, ultimately benefiting African businesses.
Access to Stronger Property Rights
Access to economies with robust property rights provides a security foundation for African businesses. These rights ensure that property, both physical and intellectual, is protected. When businesses have confidence in protecting their assets, they are more likely to invest in research and development, innovation, and long-term projects. Strong property rights promote economic growth by attracting investment and fostering a stable business environment.
Access to Greater Investor Protection
Visa-free access to economies with strong investor protection mechanisms is a powerful catalyst for African businesses. These mechanisms safeguard the interests of investors, both domestic and foreign, by offering legal and financial protections. Such protections make it more attractive for African businesses to attract foreign investment, a key driver of growth and expansion. With foreign investment, African businesses can expand, develop new products or services, and create employment opportunities.