【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. uniform /ˈyu nəˌfɔrm / (adj.) – having the same features
Example: The teacher required the students to use a uniform formatting style for their paper.
2. issuance /ˈɪʃ u əns / (n.) – the act of releasing something for the use of others
Example: The issuance of driver’s license takes around two weeks.
3. solidarity / ˌsɒl ɪˈdær ɪ ti / (n.) – a condition of unity among a group of individuals
Example: The team showed solidarity by wearing white.
4. descent / dɪˈsɛnt / (n.) – a person’s background, usually related to nationality or ethnicity
Example: My family name hints that I am of Spanish descent.
5. epidemic / ˌɛp ɪˈdɛm ɪk / (n.) – a widespread disease
Example: It is advisable to avoid traveling when there is an epidemic.
Read the text below.
The African Union is aiming for continental unity by eliminating its visa policy for member states.
Established in 2002, the African Union (AU) is an organization composed of all fifty-four African countries. It will follow the European Union’s (EU) system of free movement across borders by authorizing a uniform electronic passport for all African citizens. This will allow them to enter the member countries without visas. The issuance of the new passport, which will first be given to state heads and officials, is expected to start in 2018.
The uniform passport is in alignment with Agenda 2063, an action plan that envisions Pan-African solidarity, which aims to unite individuals who are of African descent.
At the moment, only thirteen African states are visa-free. Ghana was the latest state to loosen its entry requirements last March. According to the African Development Bank, having more lenient entrance procedures could improve the economy by boosting the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and tourism.
Despite the benefits, visa-free travel has its drawbacks. Critics expressed opposition to its implementation due to several reasons. Traveling without a visa could be to the advantage of terrorists, as it provides them easier access to the member states. As a result, this could encourage trafficking and illegal immigration. Apart from potential crime rate increase, a more accessible Africa could also lead to epidemics such as Ebola.
While the launch of the updated passport may be underway, AU Director for Political Affairs Dr. Khabele Matlosa asserts that it may still take several years before the transition is completed.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Do you agree that launching a common passport can lead to continental unity? Why or why not?
· Aside from the ones mentioned in the article, what can be the disadvantages of the visa-free policy?
· Do you think building strong continental ties is important? Why or why not?
· Would you support the implementation of a visa-free policy in your continent? Why or why not?