By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - The African Union chairman has called on African states to allow visa free travel for Africans as the continental body is preparing to issue a pan-African passport.
Moussa Faki Mahamat made the remarks at the opening of the African Union Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) meeting held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday in preparation for the 30th leaders’ summit slated for Sunday.
Africans should not find difficulty in traveling to each other’s countries while "[...] foreigners are moving about freely,” he said.
The chairman lauded Ghana for allowing Africans to enter its territory without a visa in a decision passed in July 2016.
“Other African nations should follow suit,” he said.
Sidibe Fatoumata Kaba, current chairwoman of the PRC, said the leaders during their assembly are expected to issue a declaration in reaction to what she described as U.S. President DonaldTrump’s “hateful speech”.
The issue was raised in the PRC after Senegal demanded that the pan-African body do something about Trump’s uncalled for remarks about a whole continent of 1.2 billion people.
- Trump's remarks
The African Union had not previously reacted, which raised criticism across the continent.
Trump reportedly said during a White House meeting on immigration policy he would prefer the U.S. take in immigrants from countries like Norway, rather than El Salvador, Haiti or African countries.
“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Trump was reported to have asked lawmakers.
The leaders’ summit takes up the theme "fighting corruption", just a couple of years after former south African President Thabo Mbeki revealed that the continent was losing $50 billion to illicit financial outflow each year.
Other issues to be discussed include conflict situations in the Sahel region, South Sudan and Libya.
The leaders will also deliberate on the creation of a single aviation market.