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2019, augusztus 23 - 05:00

Seychelles holds on to lead in visa openness and good governance

Seychelles has held on to the lead in two areas – visa openness and good governance – in two different rankings this year 

out of 54 countries, the Africanews’ digital team has pointed out in its review of major news items from across the African continent for the year 2018.

The visa openness index of the African Development Bank (AfDB) measures how easy is it for an African to enter another African country, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) measures a country’s performance in delivering governance across four key components that effectively provide indicators of a country’s overall governance performance.

Considered an early reformer in relaxing visa requirements to boost its tourism sector, Seychelles was the only country on the continent that offered visa-free access for all Africans when the African Development Bank (AfDB) launched the visa openness index in 2016.

In fact, Seychelles’ borders have always remained open to all international visitors, meaning it is a visa-free country and no visa are required by any person wishing to travel to the country.

Three years later, Seychelles remains at the top of the AfDB visa openness index of 2018 alongside Benin who opened up its border to all African travellers in 2017.

Rwanda has also made it as one of Africa’s most welcoming of African countries.

Developed by the African Union and the African Development Bank for three years now, the AfDB visa openness index shows that African countries are becoming more open to each other.

In 2016, Africans needed visas to travel to 55% of other African countries, could get visas on arrival in only 25% of other countries and didn’t need a visa to travel to just 20% of other countries on the continent.

The figures have changed since as Africans now do not need a visa to travel to 25% of other African countries (up from 22% in 2017, and 20% in 2016). Africans can also get visas on arrival in 24% of other African countries (also 24% in 2017, and 25% in 2016) and they need visas to travel to 51% of other African countries (down from 54% in 2017, and 55% in 2016).

Launching the programme in 2016, Moono Mupotola, director regional integration at the African Development Bank, said: “Opening up a country’s visa regime is a quick-win on development that remains untapped. Visa openness promotes talent mobility and business opportunities. Africa’s leaders and policymakers have a key role to play in helping Africans to move freely in support of Agenda 2063’s call to abolish visa requirements for all Africans by 2018.”

A visa is an endorsement (through a certificate or stamp in a travel document) showing a visitor is allowed to enter the country for a specific length of time and for specific activities.

Visa required means a visa has to be obtained before departure from an embassy, an honorary consulate or another official representative.

Visa on arrival means a visa has to be obtained on arrival in the country. This includes filling out any visa forms, paying the visa fee if applicable and receiving a visa in a travel document.

No visa means that there is no visa needed either before departure or on arrival, with no entry authorisation required to enter freely into the country. Entry procedures still need to be complied with – these can include filling out entry forms and receiving an entry stamp.

eVISA means an electronic visa that can be obtained before departure from an official online platform.

The second index which Seychelles is among the leaders is the Mo Ibrahim Foundation good governance index.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation defines governance as the provision of the political, social and economic public goods and services that every citizen has the right to expect from their state, and that a state has the responsibility to deliver to its citizens.

In the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), country performance in delivering governance is measured across four key components that effectively provide indicators of a country’s overall governance performance.

The key components that form the four categories of the IIAG are safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity, and human development. Each of these categories contain sub-categories under which various indicators have been organised to provide quantifiable measures of the overarching dimensions of governance.

The top-five best governed countries in Africa are Mauritius with a score of 79.5% after being ranked number one across all four categories, followed by Seychelles (73.2%), Ivory Coast (71.1%), Namibia (68.6%) and Botswana (68.5%) according to cumulative points across all indexes.

Seychelles’ best score came in the human development category with 83.8% for second place behind Mauritius with 84.6%. Botswana (72.5%), Cabo Verde (71.2%) and Ghana (69.9%) complete the top-five standings. The average for this category is 52.8% and the metrics used are welfare, education and health.

With a score of 74.8% Seychelles is ranked fifth behind Mauritius (81.3%), Botswana (79.6%), Namibia (77.1%) and Cabo Verde (75.3%) in safety and rule of law, while the average in this category is 52.6.

Seychelles is again ranked fifth in the sustainable economic opportunity with a score of 63.5% behind Mauritius (74.8%), Rwanda (71.5%), Morocco (68.3%) and South Africa (65.1%). The average for this category is 44.8%.

The country does not feature among the top five is the participation and human rights category which has an average of 49.2% and led by Mauritius with 77.2%.

Published since 2007, the IIAG was created to provide a quantifiable tool to measure and monitor governance performance in African countries, to assess their progress over time and to support the development of effective and responsive policy solutions. The IIAG focuses on measuring outputs and outcomes of policy, rather than declarations of intent, de jure statutes and levels of expenditure.

According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the entire index time series is updated every year to ensure that each new IIAG provides the most accurate data available. This process ensures that the index is the most robust and up-to-date dashboard of the state of governance in every African country.

Meanwhile, Seychelles has been listed by the World Bank as having a human capital index (HCI) of 0.68 (68%), and is ranked 43rd out of 157 countries. With this score the county sits atop the region and the African continent.

Commenting on Seychelles’ score of 68%, President Danny Faure said it means that all babies born in one single day at the Seychelles Hospital, each have a 68% chance of reaching their full potential as an adult.