Rwanda has been ranked fifth in visa openness in Africa, and the top in the East African region among countries that are open to visitors from other African countries. This is according to the authors of the latest Africa Visa Openness report 2022. Rwanda scored fifth in this year’s rankings and top performers despite the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the breakdown, the top 10 countries’ average score on the Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI) is 0.898 in 2021 which shows a decline compared to 0.902 in 2020. The report showcases three countries that have made the most progress in their visa openness, namely Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Ethiopia in particular has risen several places on the index to retain her position in the continent’s top 20 performers after removing the temporary measures instituted in 2021. The African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Monique Nsazabaganwa, said: “This edition links free movement to the development of regional value chains, investments, trade in services and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). There is greater recognition that human mobility is key to Africa’s integration efforts.” This year has seen several positive developments. Ten countries improved their score on visa openness, and 40 maintained their score. Only four countries recorded a decrease. The continent’s aggregate score improved by 8 per cent, compensating for last year’s downturn. African Development Bank Group’s Acting Vice President in charge of Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, remarked: “The Africa Visa Openness Index has been tracking visa openness as a measure of the freedom of movement since 2016. African countries have greatly simplified their visa regime over the past year.” 48 countries out of 54, the vast majority of African countries, now offer visa-free travel to nationals of at least one other African country. 42 countries offer visa-free travel to the nationals of at least five other African countries. Three African countries offer visa-free travel to citizens of all other African countries. Three of the top 20 performers are landlocked countries, and seven of Africa’s 16 landlocked countries feature in the upper half of the AVOI. Most of these countries share international borders with a number of neighboring countries. According to the report, now is the time that the AfCFTA negotiations are nearing completion, and progress is being made in other areas that will do much to further integrate Africa and raise Africans' incomes. This includes liberalising trade in services, addressing non-tariff barriers, and further implementing trade facilitation measures on the continent. The report urges countries to make visa on arrival the standard, not the exception, for visitors from across the continent, to implement e-visa systems that use a secure, reliable platform with a guaranteed response time among others.