The Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday became the first country to heed President William Ruto’s clarion call to abolish visa requirements for Kenyan citizens.
Ruto while addressing the Africa Climate Summit on Monday remarked that his administration was seeking to abolish all visa requirements for people coming to Kenya.
In the same breath, he requested African countries to reciprocate that by removing travel restrictions for Kenyans.
In a circular directed to all heads of airlines including Kenya’s national carrier, DRC’s Ministry of Interior, Security and Customary Affairs ordered that Kenyan citizens be exempted from entry visas.
“The Directorate General for Migration brings to your awareness that from 1 September 2023, nationals of the Republic of Kenya are exempt from entry visas to the Republic Congo Democratic,” the circular.
President William Ruto on his part has been waving visa requirements for travellers seeking to come to Kenya noting that it would boost trade and mutual interests.
"We are having a conversation as Kenyans because it is unfair to ask anybody coming home for visas," Ruto had remarked during the Africa Climate Summit.
Of note, the Ministry of Interior through the State Department of Immigration had waived visa requirements for DRC citizens on September 1, 2023.
This followed Ruto’s promise on July 29, to remove DRC from Category 2 to Category 1 of the visa regulations.
This was in compliance with the East Africa Community regulations of free movement of persons within member states.
In the same month of July, President William Ruto abolished visa requirements for Senegal and Comoros citizens.
Ruto further waived visa requirements for Indonesian nationals in August after meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo at State House, Nairobi.
Other countries Ruto has waived visas for include Eritrea and Djibouti.
In May this year, Ruto announced plans to remove visa requirements for African nationals travelling to Kenya for business terming it as the first step in removing barriers to intra-Africa trade.