Kenya to phase out passports, adopt regional travel permit

Kenya to phase out passports, adopt regional travel permit

Kenya will phase out issuance of its national passports from 2017 and adopt the East African travel permit.

The move is meant to harmonise business and regulatory processes within the six countries in the region.

The phase-out period will last two years and the six countries including South Sudan, which was this week admitted to the East Africa Community (EAC), expected to only issue the regional e-Passport by the start of 2019.

The EAC e-Passport was launched on Wednesday, during the Heads of State Summit, is expected to have additional security features to protect against identity theft and data skimming.

The regional passport comes as the EAC countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which have already signed a common market and a single customs union.

The move is aimed at progressively converging their currencies and increase in commerce.

On Thursday, East African Community regional leaders expressed their commitment to a borderless common market where people and goods move without restriction.

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Tanzania’s Dr. John Pombe Magufuli said with a population of 160 million people, the EAC common market will benefit the citizens when they rise above colonial administrative boundaries to trade together.

President Magufuli urged regional leaders to work together to address poverty, youth unemployment and underdevelopment by removing barriers that slow down integration.

“I want to assure you that Tanzania is open and ready to walk with other EAC members in strengthening the ties that bind us and this launch is a show of commitment to that partnership,” said Magufuli.

“We do not suffer from poverty. We suffer from not adding value to our raw materials,” said President Museveni.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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