IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Gabon has waived short-stay visa requirements for members of the Economic and Monetory Community of Central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea.
What does the change mean? Nationals of the CEMAC countries can travel to Gabon for tourism and business purposes without first obtaining a visa. Travelers on a visa wavier may remain in Gabon for up to three months.
- Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Visa waivers.
- Who is affected: Nationals from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea traveling to Gabon for short-stay business trips or tourism.
- Impact on processing times: The change will save eligible travelers the time it takes to obtain a visa before travel.
Background: Gabon’s move to waive visa requirements for its fellow CEMAC members dates back to a 2013 Freedom of Movement Agreement among the regional economic bloc countries. As recently as August, Gabon had indicated that it was not ready to implement the agreement, but changed course after a Heads of State meeting in Chad, where it was announced that all member states would lift visa requirements for nationals of the CEMAC countries traveling within the region. Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea are expected to announce similar measures soon. In the meantime, the CEMAC countries join Mauritius, Morocco and Tunisia as the only countries whose nationals can visit Gabon without a visa.
BAL Analysis: The waiver is intended to facilitate tourism, business travel and investment among CEMAC countries.