South Africa’s borders need to be open for people – particularly Africans – to move more freely and to promote business, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
He also reiterated the need for a single currency on the continent.
Ramaphosa told journalists following a summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area on Wednesday that “the easy movement of people across borders and countries should never be seen in a negative sense by us as South Africans”.
He said he discussed this matter with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in their bilateral on Tuesday. “There is a deep yearning in Rwanda and the region for this visa matter to be resolved, and we need to open up the borders of our country and allow people to move,” he said.
South Africa and Rwanda have had strained relations since 2010, and in 2014 diplomats from both sides were suspended after a Rwandan opposition leader was murdered in South Africa. This also meant the South African visa office in Rwanda was closed and Rwandans had to travel outside the country to get visas to South Africa.
Ramaphosa on Wednesday signed the Kigali Declaration, signalling South Africa’s commitment to moving towards a free trade area in the continent, but it stopped short of signing the actual African Continental Free Trade Area agreement and the Protocol on the Free Movement of People because of outstanding internal legal issues and Constitutional processes that needed to be followed.