In a joint address after holding bilateral talks at State House, Nairobi, the two leaders said they had loosened the existing stringent immigration policies between Kenya and South Africa in a bid to boost continental trade.
Under the new regulations, Kenyans will enter the second-largest economy in Africa visa-free for up to 90 days each year.
“Kenyans holding ordinary passports will be allowed to enter South Africa on a visa-free regime for up to 90 days per calendar year,” President Ruto announced.
His South African counterpart stated that the plan takes effect in January 2023 and that the two countries are working towards implementing the arrangements.
“With the view of allowing Kenyans to visit South Africa on a free-visa basis, we have discussed the thorny issue of visas. We agreed that indeed that Kenyans should be able to visit South Africa without requiring them to have visas. This will commence on the 1st of January 2023. Our officials will speed up the processes to implement this move,” said Preident Ramaphosa.
At the same time, the two Heads of State said they had agreed on a returns policy in instances of breach of immigration laws and regulations of both countries.
“The two countries have also agreed on a return policy when immigration laws and regulations are breached to make sure that bad elements that try to infiltrate our borders are dealt with firms and decisively,” said President Ruto.
“President Ramaphosa and I have also agreed to develop a sustainable mechanism to identify, monitor and resolve non-tariff barriers that limit the trade potential between our two countries,” he added.