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Using Technology To Simplify Our Visa Processes [ICT Clinic]

ICT Clinic (Sunday Punch)

Using Technology To Simplify Our Visa Processes [ICT Clinic]

Kenya sure has a way of setting the pace while Nigeria follows when it comes to the application of technology. You may not know this but Kenya is actually using technology to bring e-governance closer to her people in more ways than one, unlike in Nigeria where government officials glory in long speeches.

I experienced Kenya’s style first hand when I embarked on a trip to Nairobi. My contact person in Nairobi asked me to simply visit www.ecitizen.go.ke and after registration, I should proceed to apply for a visa. It was like a dream because, in less than 10 minutes, I had a Kenyan e-visa ready! Boy, I was very impressed. This is what technology is all about.

That said, I opted to write this piece after a UK citizen left a comment on my article titled, ‘The tech ecosystem needs more events’ and it reads, “My problem with the visa system in Nigeria as a UK citizen — you need a visa before boarding the plane in London. Most expensive visa I have ever applied for. It needs to be done via a third party and takes a looooong time.

We missed having critical employees from contractors attend the site because their visa did not get processed quickly enough. The system is antiquated, laborious and don’t get me started on the requirements for an STR visa.

He continued, “That was comical and showed Nigeria in a poor light. Here are what some African countries currently offer: Ghana — visa on arrival (takes 30 seconds); Kenya — No visa — issued on arrival; Botswana — No visa for Commonwealth citizens; South Africa — No visa required and Namibia — visa on arrival.

“So, Mr. Ambode’s desire to have Lagos as the event and conference capital of West Africa will not work. When talking to ministers and they ask me what Nigeria could do to make foreign direct investment easier…. I tell them they should experience Nigeria from an outsider’s viewpoint.”

This is some candid feedback that any listening economy crying for foreign investments should take seriously. The complications associated with obtaining Nigerian visas by foreigners is a bottleneck that we must deal with as we expect more and more international participants and prospective investors in our fledging tech ecosystem.

The commenter was not the first foreigner to complain to me and my question is simply this: “If someone is genuinely interested in visiting or doing business in Nigeria legally, why do we have to kill that — Finish Reading on the Punch Website

CFA co-produces and presents Tech Trends, a weekly Tech show on Channels Television. He also produces Tech on Wheels with CFA radio show which currently airs on Love FM Abuja, PH, Umuahia. He is a regular columnist with the Sunday Punch Newspaper and CFA's Blog When not on his computer or networking then you can find him in His Father's house. Connect with him on Linkedin his favourite SM. Enjoy :)

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