This projection comes as the continent prepares to hold its 32nd African Union (AU) summit in February 2019.
The Commission will present details on the design, production, and issuance of the long-awaited African passport.
According to the Head of the AU, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the unified passport is aimed at easing the free movement of people, spurring economic growth, promoting intra-African trade, and eventually creating a “continent with seamless borders.”
He said this at the launch of the AU’s single air market initiative. The initiative is to improve connectivity and a free trade agreement which will establish a common market for goods and services.
The projection can only be implemented if the heads of state assembly adopt the measures in February. This will pave the way for of the issuance of the African passport in accordance with respective national laws and regulations.
The move is likely to be a windfall for citizens of African states, who hold some of the least powerful passports in the world to also travel within the African continent.
In 2016, the African passport was first introduced and it is still exclusive to heads of state and other diplomats with Chadian leader Idriss Déby and Rwandan president Paul Kagame being the first recipients.
However, immigration experts from member states met in July 2018 at Nairobi to deliberate on the document’s technical specifications, security features, and how best to unroll it across the AU’s 55 states.
Meanwhile, some sceptics have pointed out that the move will be challenging, with many African states already resistant to migrants and refugees, and some have been quietly tightening their visa rules.