March 1, 2014 (NAIROBI) – Kenyans travelling to South Sudan will no longer experience hassles when applying for visas once a new agreement struck between the countries’ respective presidents last week comes into effect.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta (Photo: AP/Ali Ngethi)
"This is an important development for Kenya and the region. It shows that we are prepared to walk the talk,"Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta was quoted saying upon his return from the South Sudan capital, Juba.
He added that the visa deal was significant in terms of recent gains in northern corridor infrastructure talks that partly seek to see the free movement of people, goods and services in the region.
Under the new deal, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, reportedly agreed to a request that Kenyans be granted visas at the border or any entry points. Kenyans usually pay $50 as single entry visa fees to South Sudan.
A key ally of South Sudan, Kenya has major economic stakes in the new nation and the new visa arrangement is seen as key in protecting the country’s interest. Kenya also played a vital role in negotiations that led to the 2005 signing of South Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Last year, Botswana announced last year that South Sudanese intending to travel to the country need not apply for entry visas any more provided they held passports lawfully issued by the relevant authorities and valid for a period of at least 12 months.
Botswana was among the first countries that recognised South Sudan’s independence, when the latter seceded from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.