An electronic passport which will grant visa-free-access to all 54 countries in Africa is expected to be launched later this month at the AU Summit in Rwanda.
This project was agreed on in 2014 and the AU says it in line with its agenda 2063.
The move is mainly to promote” free movement of persons, goods and services around the continent - in order to foster intra-Africa trade, integration and socio-economic development.”
The AU e-Passports will first be issued to heads of state and other senior officials at the AU summit on 27 of July. But the AU estimates that by 2018 it will be available to all citizens in member countries.
The AU admits the concept of free movement of person and goods for trade purposes is not new.
"it has been outlined in documents like the Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty - an indication that the unhampered movement of citizens is critical for Africa’s development." The Union said in a statement.
Ghana, Rwanda Seychelles and Mauritius are some of the countries which have taken the initiative by relaxing visa restrictions to enhance trade.
The e-passports for the heads of states and senior officials is to aid in the adoption and ratification of the "necessary Protocols and Legislation" to facilitate the issuance of the AU passport.