One of the outcomes of the 27th AU summit was the unanimous launching of a universal passport for member states starting from 2018. The basis is to remove the barriers of free movement of people thereby fast tracking integration and by extension socio-economic growth

Analysts are of the view that through single passport African states that are divided along border, water ways, language and culture since colonial rule will now find one identity to live by. In fact, some believe it’s an opportunity to encourage African states to do business more with their neighbors and resuscitate Africa’s transport system especially the airlines. Africans face more challenge getting direct flight around the continent than to Europe and America.

The passport will come in English, French, Arabic, Portuguese and Swahili but how it will be roll-out is sketchy.

Analysts however accessed the unintended consequences of single passport: They submit that if no constructive mechanism is put to regulate the movement, migration by citizens of conflict and poor states could become so unprecedented such that, it will overwhelm countries with fairly big economies like S/Africa and Nigeria and the citizens may react with xenophobic attack.

More so, elimination of visa fees will clearly drop the revenue realized by state embassies which may not be sustaining to the country’s economy.

Another school of thought argued that single passport will encourage spread of espionage, organized crime and terrorist groups such as al-shabab and boko haram in Africa.

Domestic legislation is required to support the universal passport, but how many will ratify it to law is the big question. This regional integration is coming at a time when Brexit had already undermined the effectiveness regional integration.



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